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.

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Worksheet80.16 KB

Language level

B2 English level (upper intermediate)

Submitted by Ehsan on Thu, 15/09/2022 - 16:02


I think a good boss should have management skills. he or she should understand the employees situation and be able to take the project well.

Submitted by mamalirezaenglish on Tue, 30/08/2022 - 18:01


A bad boss:
- micromanages people
- blame people for their mistakes
- doesn't care about employees career development
- looks at people like a robot and doesn't care about mental health

Submitted by Tricoptero on Tue, 16/08/2022 - 07:18


A good boss needs to be a leader, not someone who only say to the others what they have to do. You need to be comfortable with your boss when it comes to talk about everything related with your tasks and your job, if not, it will not be a good environment for working and it will end up affecting the good performance of the company.

Submitted by teacheralice on Fri, 15/07/2022 - 12:07


I am an English teacher and used this lesson with a student. Here's what they wrote in answer to the discussion:

"The good boss usually are good listeners, they have ability to deal with different kinds of people. They don´t have difficulty to respect different cultures and thoughts. People like to be with a good boss, they see opportunities to learn and be recognized.
On the other hand, we have the bad boss, they don't have these same skills; and usually , they are very bad team workers. Sometimes they call people out in front of everyone and even they don´t recognize when the team does good things. People run away from the bad boss."

Submitted by jmajo on Mon, 16/05/2022 - 17:48


In my working experience I had to deal with different kinds of bosses and I could say for me a leading
position like a boss should have some minimum personality requirements:
+It should lead by the example
+It must treat each team member with respect despite sexual or religious orientation
+It should be an active listener when it’s talking with it’s team members
+It should recognize in a good manner the value and effort of each of their team members
+It shouldn’t be aggressive or angry when someone’s in the team make a mistake(grumpy bosses don’t
last long)
Although it could be difficult to lead people in a work environment due to problems it might happens
and stressful situations they’re would be dealing with every day, I think it’s important every boss meet those
requirements to lead a work team successfully.

Thanks for the episode.
Great site!

Submitted by Minhhanhtran on Mon, 16/05/2022 - 12:10


I think that a good boss must listen to the ideas of the employees. He has to be interested in the working condition of the employees and he understand their circumstance.

Submitted by chilirose on Tue, 19/04/2022 - 21:46


A good boss should be part of the team that they work together. He/She should be good example to co-workers with his/her behavior.

Submitted by misty on Tue, 11/01/2022 - 21:24


A boss manages his people, he decides everything especially in decision making. On the other hand, a leader inspire his people. He help them grow and listens to their voices.

Submitted by RuthYong on Thu, 14/10/2021 - 05:07


In my opinion, a good boss is someone who respects and understands the employees well. He or she will constantly give encouragement and feedback so that employees will improve in work. A bad boss, however, is someone who is rude and quick to judge towards the employees.

Submitted by Abrarhussain on Fri, 08/10/2021 - 23:58


Positive and negative attitudes from a boss towards his employees makes the boss good or bad.

Submitted by Daudau0601 on Mon, 13/09/2021 - 04:00

Personally, I think a good boss is a person who always gives motivation and encourages employees to do work hard. He also should praise his staff for their success and never takes credit for their ideas or anything like that. Besides, A good boss has to take lots of responsibilities for work, so he may be under pressure every time. But he shouldn't force his employees to be in his good books.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Sun, 25/04/2021 - 13:16

I'm a student and I don't have experience working with boss but listen audio and read all comment I said that a good boss is being like a leader who always motivate people in the office, appreciate team's success, always polite to teams and don't credit for other work.

Submitted by kawa on Tue, 09/02/2021 - 21:19

A good Boss can make the relationship between him/her and the employees very strong and based on respect and kindness so the boss should be kind and respectful enough to be a good boss. On the other side when a boss has no vision and gives negative feedback to employees and creates a high-stress work environment then we can call him/her bad boss
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Submitted by El Cuy Mágico on Mon, 08/02/2021 - 23:27

I think what makes a good or bad boss is the intelligence, lead ability and emotional intelligence. For me intelligence means do the right things at the right moment. Furthermore I feel a good boss need the ability to hold his team’s motivation even under stress. But the most important thing is that a good boss should lead whit the example. On the other hand, a bad boss is someone who simply don’t feel passion for what he does, thus he won’t respect neither his work place, nor his team, and so on.

Submitted by Omer123 on Thu, 04/02/2021 - 06:59

according to my opinion a good boss should manage and divide her/his team properly and he/she is should be a leader. also, he should look at his team with an understanding perspective, because ideas are constantly changing. nevertheless sometimes we can have some conflicts with each other and for this every employee and their colleagues should be considarate towards each other.

Submitted by Diogo1606 on Sat, 30/01/2021 - 00:54

Good bosses usually are understandable and respectful to the workers, talking pacifically to them and making them understand when something is wrong.

Submitted by Saad786 on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 15:53

A Good teacher should be qualified enough to teach students. He should keep difference between good and weak students. Teacher or Boss should be kind to his juniors or students so that they can learn from their teacher whole heartedly.

Submitted by Asni on Thu, 10/12/2020 - 22:52

In my opinion, a good boss should know his rights and obligations, make the right decisions at the right time, be able to lead his team effectively following an accurate strategy. Honesty, empathy, cleverness, respect and emotional intelligence are some of his qualities. Furthermore, he should be a qualified, skilled person and experienced in managing people. It is necessary for a boss to know how to motivate his people, recognize their work, demonstrate trust and be not only a boss who gives orders but also the mentor who inspires, helps and gives advice when it is necessary.
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Submitted by DJ Singh on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 09:52

A good bose must be a good leader, who leads his team and address them as equal. When someone does well in the team his/her responsibilities must be appreciated team's work so they can perform well their daily or given task happily. On the other hand, a bad boss who doesn't support or cheer for his/her team for their performance should not be a leader.
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Submitted by danisep on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 02:00

A good boss must be a coach, make his team able to take good decisions and fix problems by themselves, it must encourage his team, listen, learn and not get upset when the team are not agree with some of the ideas. It must be confidence and readiness. Like boss or a person in a high position could look scary to others in the company, likewise is really unfair and gets me mad when those people take advantage of his power and hurt people, steal his ideas or abuse them in any other way.
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Submitted by javibuendi on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 09:59

I reckon a good boss is the one who is able to treat his/her employees as a leader and as a friend at the same time. Besides, he or she should be able to communicate with the rest of the team in an assertive way. Many times, they (bosses) are under preasure because they usually have huge responsabilities, and this fact makes that they treat you rudely. Cheers from Madrid.

Submitted by Ugulhan on Sat, 24/10/2020 - 11:28

I do not agree with that if people in the workplace will take credit for other's ideas, even if he would be a boss in the office. Being in someone's good books would not help if the employee has not a creative idea. A genius Boss might be reached praises, but it doesn't mean you have to keep your mouth shut in front of him.

Submitted by mcambindo22 on Thu, 01/10/2020 - 18:56

According to the name, "Boss" is like a person that only given orders or assignments whereas a "Leader" is a person who act such as guide align to the company goals or team goals to improve their results in orden to get the best results, hence a good boss should be a leader, and having the skills and capabilities for their team walking successfully, is a person who harness the best skills in each one member of their team and help to find out better ways to the work.
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Submitted by Hennadii on Tue, 22/09/2020 - 09:08

Honestly, talking about good or bad boss' behaviour we talking about behaviour in general. I don't think a "good" boss act opposite in his private life or a "bad" boss becomes such a lovely person outside the office. Of course, I don't mean professional qualifications. If one's doesn't skilled enough to cope with the bank or factory, just because he/she doesn't have much experience and knowledge, he will be a bad boss, no matter how kind and wise he is. You just must be quite confident in that sphere you're working in. But, irrespective of your readiness as a professional, you have to know how to communicate with people. No one can do one's work by oneself. And even if your job doesn't need a teamwork, you anyway can't escape interaction with others. So, the main point of being a "good boss" is communication. The good one has to be qualified (to make the right decisions), fair, and convincing. The good boss also has to know how motivate people and even better ру has to know how to point out some errors tactful way.

Submitted by fahri on Mon, 17/08/2020 - 15:45

Dear team. From the lesson above. Kiera: It won an award, didn't it? The question: Pronoun 'it' refers to 'idea of kiera' or refers to John???? The second: About 'it' as dummy subject or object. The question: Anything of 'it' from this lesson as dummy subject or object??? Thank you very much for your answer

Hi fahri,

  • It won an award, didn't it?

It refers to 'the project', which was mentioned by Will in the previous sentence. 

I can't find any examples of it as a dummy subject or object in this transcript.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Razan Mahairy,

Thank you for your kind words. It's great to know we're helping people.


A quick note on the vocabulary: when you copy phrases that you want to learn/remember, make sure you copy them correctly! You made a few errors:

to take credit for something (not a credit)

to be in someone's good books (not book)



The LearnEnglish Team

Yes I agree with you. For me B2 level more difficult. I must study hard

Submitted by Somaia Abueta on Wed, 10/06/2020 - 06:04

Not carrying the responsibility is What makes the boss bad. Many of them do not endure their mistakes, they put it on others back and when success comes out they took it for themself.

Submitted by WillyWolf on Fri, 05/06/2020 - 14:21

Bosses should be leaders. They must encourage and motivate their workers to get the best result with all efficiency. Creating a good relationship between workers and bosses is the key to have a great work atmosphere. Everybody may have a bad day, that's because bosses could get angry for silly things, but workers are humans, we generally don't like when someone is shouting at us, so supporting workers must have a lot of importance for being a good leader.

Submitted by ayoubr84 on Sun, 31/05/2020 - 16:33

a good boss should be a real leader who can inspire motivate and support his employers , moreover , he's supposed to be competent , and clear-headed about the way of leading his employers in order to increase productivity and achieve company's goals. more than that a boss should take care of his employers and be aware of there problems , and be engaged to find solutions for them , by way of conclusion a real boss represents a combination of professional and human qualities .

Submitted by sandy on Mon, 25/05/2020 - 12:08

what makes a good boos is communication and respect his employees , and never look down at his employees especially if its a woman

Submitted by cadu on Fri, 15/05/2020 - 00:22

A good boss listen and give awards for the job good done. He has all the team in his good books because build confidence and give feedback. The good boss search new scenarios for the development of his team, recognize his emotions and act with example.

Submitted by Navreet Bhardwaj on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 10:08

Hello teachers, While I was writing my comment I was wondering how can I say 'a good boss', 'a bad boss' , ' employees' and 'colleagues' in different ways. I mean, can you tell me some synonyms of these words or please link me to any page or website where I can learn them. In addition, please tell all of us how can we learn synonyms easily. Thank you

Hello Navreet Bhardwaj

You can often find synonyms in a good online dictionary, e.g. Cambridge or Longman. You can also search for synonyms and antonyms in a thesaurus, though please note that not all synonyms are appropriate in every situation. I'm afraid there is no quick and easy way to learn synonyms -- the best way is to read as much as you can.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Navreet Bhardwaj on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 10:01

In my opinion, there are plathora of indispensable features that a good boss should have and some of them are more crucial than the other ones. First of all, a good boss should have great vision to forecast the trends for the betterment of the company. In this way, he can set some goals, give profit warnings and many other efforts to increase the profit margin. Effective communication skills are quintessential while talking about a good boss. If a boss has this skill in his skill set, he can give clear instructions to his employees which in turn will save several human resources like money time and energy. Finally, a good boss should keep both his employees and colleagues motivated. By this, he can encourage them to achieve short-term and long-term goals set by the company. On the other hand, a bad boss, undoubtedly, lacks all these skills. Moreover, he doesn't have good relationship with his fellow workers and employees.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Mon, 11/05/2020 - 17:22

What makes a good and bad boss are highlighted below: Good Boss Attributes. - Being visionary in contexts to firm's objective. - Have good communication skill to work with subordinates. - Interacts professionally with subordinates. - Delegates authority. - Supervising, monitoring and evaluating task with the spirit of team working with subordinates. - Motivates its subordinates. Bad Boss Attributes. - Lack good communication skills in dealing with subordinates. - Lacks vision. - Hostile and harsh relationship with subordinates. - No delegation of authority. - Lacks motivational skills.

Submitted by anasolis on Wed, 22/04/2020 - 11:17

In my opinion John wasn't a good boss. Why would a boss steal ideas from his own workers to keep the benefit for himself? I understand that everyone has a different way to think but he didn't really think about it. Letting that girl make her project and winning the award would have made the business look much better. Also, why does he need to scream and shout? I think he is just a selfish person that wants to be the best and doesn't accept others progress. It's good that he gets fired, maybe he will learn about it and he will change.

Submitted by Wesley54 on Sat, 18/04/2020 - 23:56

In my opinion a good boss is never allowed to exclude their coworkers and has to take their whole points of view. Besides, he must be thorough with the relationship to their teammates and help them in case there would be a difficulty. However, his main role must never be put into doubt, since he must be able to lead their teamwork through decision-making and attend to frequent meetings, as section as company ones.

Submitted by Aina Menéndez on Wed, 15/04/2020 - 17:23

In my opinion what makes a good boss is the ability to comprehend the people who are working for you. I also think that is important to not make feel workers are inferior or that their opinion doesn’t count, listening is important!

Submitted by Bunga on Fri, 03/04/2020 - 09:21

What's make a good or bad boss is how they treat her team and how boss facing the problem in the team. A good boss have a good integrity.

Submitted by yoyoraw on Sat, 28/03/2020 - 14:58

what makes a boss a good one is the way he treats his employees so first he has to have great manners in talking and dealing with others plus he should give attention to his employees problems and complaints .
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Tue, 24/03/2020 - 00:15

A good boss must be logical having a strong mind with a team work attribute aided by an interpersonal skills and an effective communication skill in mobilizing other subordinates to achieve organizational goal while a bad boss possess none of this skills but rather demoralised which can lead to ruins of the firm.

Submitted by armando on Tue, 18/02/2020 - 06:35

A good boss must be decent, gentleman, and he must respect his workers, if our boss respects all of us we will also respect him. Attention calls should not be made in front of classmates, I think you should call the person who made the mistake and speak privately with him.

Submitted by I P on Fri, 03/01/2020 - 21:16

I think that the boss need to have authority at some point, but to give democratic atmosphere - to listen everyone and vaule them as a person, and everyone have to participate during project, and bring ideas, reaching throughout the their goal and achive it.
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Submitted by Magedelabd on Wed, 11/12/2019 - 16:20

What makes good boss is , he is a quit man , kind , fair and gentleman. What makes bad boss is nervous , unfair .

Submitted by HelianG on Tue, 26/11/2019 - 18:20

I think that a good boss is who knows how to give feedback to his employees,recognize the work of his employees,also is important that he listen to his workers's complaints,otherwise,they will to have to deal with people like jhon and that is a huge problem because the others will not feel like giving their opinion or ideas which help to improve the business