Line management

Line management

Listen to part of a radio programme where a manager is talking about dealing with staff.

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



Presenter: Welcome back to the second part of our programme, How do you manage? I have with me Jenny Buxton, who works in Ipswich. Welcome, Jenny.

Manager: Hi.

Presenter: You work for a well-known firm of retailers, but it's not the products I wanted to talk to you about today, it's the people involved. You've been responsible for a staff of 15 for a year or so now. Tell me how you got there.

Manager: Well, I did the standard round of applications from university and this is my second employer. I enjoy the area of retailing, but as far as managing staff, that's more recent and so it's quite a new area for me, with a whole new set of challenges.

Presenter: You pride yourself on being good with people. You've got quite a sociable, outgoing personality. I imagine you'd be a good person to work under.

Manager: Well, that's what I like to think. But managing people isn't all about sitting down with a cup of tea and talking over issues. Being in a position of responsibility means you can be the bringer of bad news as well as good. You have to develop a thick skin ... to be unpopular, not to be liked for a decision you make.

Presenter: And I guess that can be hard at first.

Manager: Yes, but the thing you learn, if you stick at it long enough, is that people will still respect you even if they don't like what you had to say on a particular subject or the way you acted.

Presenter: Are there other aspects of line managing that you find difficult?

Manager: One of the hardest, most awkward things is the issue of disciplinary action. The company should have a system in place for dealing with this kind of area, and you have to make sure the system is understood and agreed by everyone. But ultimately, if you've taken the employee through all the procedures and he or she still doesn't shape up, some hard decisions have got to be made.

Presenter: We seem to be focusing a lot on the negative side here. What about some of the positive things?

Manager: Oh, the chance to help people reflect on things, how they are developing with the company. I like seeing people develop, change and perhaps go off on a completely new path, something that may never have occurred to them if you hadn't pointed them in that direction.

Presenter: I imagine it can be quite satisfying.

Manager: Yes. And then there's the sheer variety. You plan your work, you have to get yourself well organised, but ultimately no two days are ever the same. There's always a new challenge, and I like that more than anything.

Task 1

Task 2


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Average: 4.3 (11 votes)

Submitted by sandroger on Wed, 31/01/2024 - 14:31


I've line-managed a team and it was not easy. I had to deal with some bad temper or negative state of mind staff. I wasn't trained to manage people and I didn't have any tools to help me. Moreover I've never had a good manager I could take as an example.

Submitted by natalia_galvisa on Tue, 08/08/2023 - 16:06


I am the line manager of a small team in my firm, with just six people in the analysis area and many things to do. I agree with Jenny when she explained that our role has terrible and good things, but at the end of the day, your team respect you and supports your decisions. Also, it is hard to say goodbye to someone because they did not match the prospectus or the firm's expectations.

Submitted by Marcos Roberto… on Fri, 28/07/2023 - 21:31


I agree with Jenny , because when you are starting a new position with a team is normal to have difficulties.
Administrate behaviors is a big challenge in the beginning.
important is working closer to the staff, developping each one , undestanding the their professional individuality.

Submitted by yangtinh on Wed, 10/11/2021 - 07:14


I haven't ever been a line manager. However, I used to be member of many many teams before and I think manager job is quite hard. Apart from difficulties Jenny indicated, there is problem of making peaceful environment among team members. In the role of manager, you will be trouble if your team has so many strong individuals and cutthroatly competing to each other. The manager has to balance aspects for every team member all having room to develope and promote their strengths. High tension and suffocating environment could diminish productivity of the whole team.

Submitted by GushchinaE. on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 15:43


Hi! I agree with Jenny. Managing staff is a very difficult job, because you are responsible for everyone. I think the most difficult thing is to ensure discipline and make sure that everyone treats you as a boss. If you are too tough, it will be morally difficult for you to control people, because they will hate you. And if you are too soft, then you will not be perceived as a boss and will not carry out your orders on time. The most difficult thing is to find the "golden mean". It seems to me that managing staff is a very interesting job, despite the fact that it is very responsible and difficult.

Submitted by Ksenia16072021 on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 10:15


I completely agree with the opinion. Discipline and knowledge of what is the ultimate goal for the team is very important. It is thanks to these measures that the manager can successfully monitor and coordinate the activities of employees. Subordinates must respect their supervisor not just for words, but for specific actions.

Submitted by mfuenmol on Fri, 22/10/2021 - 11:40


No directly, but in my previous job I was coordinating the office so my boss asked me to tell him all the things that happen in the office. One of them was coordinating the team and help them to do their job correctly.

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Submitted by Alpha Ousmane BAH on Sun, 08/08/2021 - 02:34

It's very intresting

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Thu, 08/07/2021 - 20:02

No, I have not. Nevertheless, I'm like the teamwork project manager of the group homeworks from my University. I have to get ideas for the project and then I have to explain them to the rest of the team. I consider that the most important thing in my teamwork is the respect; if people people don't agree with my ideas, they still have to respect them. I also have to encourage the teamwork and set a time limit for people to hand in their parts of the project and they know that if they don't hand in their parts before the time limit, I will not consider them in the project presentation. Nevertheless, there's an exception which is that someone has personal troubles such as some members of their family came down with covid-19 or with any other dangerous illness; it is so difficult I understand that kind of situation Overall, that's all what I do. It is not exactly line-managed staff, but I think they are somewhat related.