Talking About Leadership (Adv)


Students will be able to discuss the qualities of a good team leader.
Student Level: 
Unit Group: 
General Business - Management

Warm Up (5 mins)

 What abilities and characteristics do you think a good team leader should have?

Listening (5 mins)

Watch the following video.

1. What does Richard Branson say are the qualities of a good leader?

2. He compares people to flowers. Why?

Reading Comprehension (10 mins)

Read the following article.

1. What are some of the qualities of a good leader that the author describes?

Conversation Skill (10 mins)

Expressing Empathy

Conversation Skill Point: 

"Empathy" means showing another person that you understand, respect them and are willing to help when they have a problem or concern.

Expressing empathy is an important skill because it can break down personal barriers and help create a constructive approach to difficult situations.

Example phrase

“I can understand how upsetting it is when ... "

“I realize how hard it is to…”

“I know how difficult it must be when…”

“I appreciate how sad it is to ... "

Practice making empathetic statements in the following situations.

Your friend's dog has passed away.
Your friend has lost his / her job.
Your friend is recovering from a severe illness.
Your friend severely damaged his / her car in a road accident.


Vocabulary (5 mins)

Word or expressionExample sentence
teamworkThe side with the best teamwork usually wins a soccer game.
team membersOur company usually recruits new team members in April.
team leaderWhen our team leader retires a replacement will be hired from outside the company.

Role Play (15 mins)


Case Study (15 mins)

Imagine you have been appointed as the new manager of the Accounts Payable team for VitaLife Health Products, an international vitamin pill exporter. Your team is responsible for checking invoices from vendor companies, arranging payment authorization from other department managers then organizing payment to the vendors.

Your team consists of three staff; Jack Bailey (Canadian - 21 y.o.), Lisa Spender (British - 26 y.o.) and Wendy Lee (Chinese - 35 y.o.).

Lately, your company's sales and profits have been declining and there are rumors that some restructuring and possible layoffs are being planned for the administration side of the organization.

The recent performance of Jack and Lisa is concerning to you.

Jack has been taking a lot of sick days over the last few months, although when he returns to work he looks healthy and sometimes even suntanned! He seems unenthusiastic about his job and often arrrives to work late.

Lisa on the other hand has been making a lot of mistakes. On several occasions, some supplier invoices were not paid on time which caused problems with delivery of important supplies to the company factory. You have heard from another co-worker that Lisa may be having some personal problems at home that are affecting her performance. Previously she was an excellent employee.

You have heard Lisa and Jack complaining that they don't really understand how to use the company's accounts software well because they haven't been trained properly and they don't feel like an important part of the company. Both Jack and Lisa are relatively new, with less than 2 years experience in the organization.

Wendy on the other hand is very efficient and reliable. She has been with the Accounts Payable department for 10 years. She focusses well on her own work but doesn't offer much help or encouragement to Jack or Lisa. After talking to her one day, you learned that she is concerned about her job security. She feels that by helping her two co-workers it only increases the possibility that she will be replaced by one of them if there is any restructuring.

Overall morale in the team is low.

1) With your instructor discuss what you would do as leader to solve the problems your team faces.

2) Ask your instructor to be one of the team members. Role play the conversation you would have with that person. Try to express empathy if you feel it is appropriate.

Extension Activity

 Would you like to have more leadership responsibilities? Why or why not?

Review and Quiz (5 mins)

 Do you have any questions about this lesson?

What did you learn today?

Did you learn any new vocabulary or expressions?

Ask your instructor for tips on how you can improve your English.

Finally, don't forget to take the quiz after all your lessons are finished today.

Thank you !