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

Language level

Average: 4.2 (25 votes)
Do you need to improve your English listening skills?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are improving their English listening skills with our online courses.

Submitted by nyuhnovskiy on Mon, 16/01/2023 - 16:14


In my opinion, the most important qualities, which make a good boss, is resiliance, outgoingness and responsibility. Apart of these there is such quality as to be able to admit your own faults, which may be also benefitful for a good leader.

If I did some mistakes, than please correct me, I am really happy for each feedback.

Hello nyuhnovskiy,

Thanks for your contribution. I'm afraid we don't correct our users' texts, though if you have a specific question about a sentence, please feel free to ask us.

By the way, you can get more personalised feedback on your English in some of our Online Courses, so that might be something you want to explore.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

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.