Talking about rumours

Talking about rumours

Listen to two people talking about a colleague to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.



Will: Kiera, have you heard John isn't coming back and they might even fire him?

Kiera: No! I knew he was away but I thought it was for personal reasons?

Will: I'm pretty sure that's not the full story. Have you ever worked with him?

Kiera: A long time ago, but … well, I've heard stories about him for years.

Will: I've never worked with him directly but I know people that have and they say he was always shouting and screaming, threatening to fire people. And Susanne told me he took credit for one of her ideas. She had this idea for a project and she brought it up at the monthly creative workshop and he liked it – everybody did. But she saw the notes from the meeting and there was no mention of her name anywhere. John had agreed with her and repeated some of the things she said and the notes made it look like they were his ideas in the first place. He made her do all the work planning it, then when the project actually got started – it was that cars one – Susanne was moved to something else.

Kiera: It won an award, didn't it?

Will: Yeah, but Susanne didn't get to share it – there was zero recognition of her contribution. She was furious but she couldn't do anything about it. Not if she wanted to keep her job.

Kiera: Yeah, it's almost impossible to report people who are as high up as John is, or was.

Will: How did you find working with him, then?

Kiera: Well, you know what you said about him shouting at people? I've been in meetings with him and we all learned to keep our mouths shut. It was horrible. People were genuinely afraid of him.

Will: Did you ever see him stealing people's ideas?

Kiera: It was never that obvious. He was a genius. He had incredible vision but, you know, there was a whole team of people working with him. Not every single idea came from him and after a while it's not easy to say, 'Oh, this idea was mine and this idea was yours.' For me, the bigger problem was that you could be in his good books and then suddenly, with no explanation, you were out. And if you were out, life got very difficult.

Will: I heard women in particular had a hard time working with him.

Kiera: Yeah, well, like I said, you had to stay in his good books. So, if there was a comment that made you feel uncomfortable, you didn't say anything.

Will: Did that happen to you?

Kiera: Not to me, no, but we all knew … and no one said anything. And I was lucky I didn't have that much contact with him myself.

Will: They're doing a full investigation so I suppose a lot of these stories are going to come to light.

Kiera: I hope so. I really hope he's not coming back.


Worksheet80.16 KB

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Average: 4.4 (39 votes)

Submitted by Morteza on Wed, 07/08/2019 - 07:37

I think a good boss is who has a good behaviour, gives out assignments fairly, and doesn't take it upon themselves to interfere personal lives of employees. Also having a good relationship and open to constructive criticism are very crucial factors of a boss for a good collaboration with other colleagues.

Submitted by nikoslado on Tue, 25/06/2019 - 19:37

Dear Team, I'd like to refer to Task1/third line:The correct answer is ''False'', because,in fact, Susanne was the original creator of the cars ideas, according to the transcript, or am I wrong?
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Wed, 26/06/2019 - 07:18

In reply to by nikoslado


Hello nikoslado

Yes, you are right -- sorry for any confusion. I've fixed the exercise so that number 3 in Task 1 is false. Thanks for pointing this out to us!

Best wishes


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by AliMir on Wed, 22/05/2019 - 18:15

There are several factors by which a boss's function may be assumed as productive or destructive. If they delegated tasks to the staff, it would make them motivated and initiative. That means managers should grant them as enough freedom so that they can find the best way to achieve the goal. Although the main framework has been already defined therefor the team members are supposed to consider it as a whole. It doesn't mean that the boss wouldn't intervene in any stage of the process until the project advanced. The members are obligated to report the progress while they get to predefined milestones.
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Submitted by mehrazin on Fri, 17/05/2019 - 19:43

Hello everyone some factors which really make a boss good or bad , depends on his attitude and insight and the way of his management , how he communicates with personnel, how he could prepare them to motivate each other and how he could make them be eager to enjoy working at work place and in which way he creates a nice feeling of cooperation within them , to get them involved offering the innovative and creative ideas and advises in order to improve and upgrade the company. he/she should instantly offer the best ways to solve the problems and worries in order to make the work place quite safe. Best wishes

Submitted by Alireza on Sat, 11/05/2019 - 13:09

I think what really makes a boss good is that he really dedicates enough time to the job and doesn't try to solve any problem with the easiest way. He should also care about his subordinates problems and their ideas.