Enterprise English - A New Leader
In this episode of the Premier Skills English Podcast, Rowan asks Jack for some help to choose a new captain for the team she coaches.
Jack: Hello. My name’s Jack.
Rowan: And I’m Rowan.
Jack: Welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast.
Rowan: In the Premier Skills English podcast, we talk about football and help you learn or revise English.
Jack: Today, we’re talking about what makes a good leader. We have a role-play and then we will focus on some language related to leadership skills. But before we look at that, let’s look back at last week’s football phrase.
Rowan: Last week’s football phrase was quite a tricky one, I thought.
Jack: I don’t think that the language was that hard, but I think there could have been a few different possible answers. Let’s give our listeners one more chance to guess the phrase before we give everyone the answer.
Rowan: Last week’s football phrase was to pick out somebody. This phrasal verb is used to describe a pass, usually a cross or a long pass that is really accurate and finds or picks out the striker or target player. This phrasal verb is common in football and quite common in regular English as well – it has a similar meaning; it means to find or recognise something among a group of similar things. You might pick someone out in a group photo, for example.
Jack: Congratulations to HSN from Turkey and Sabanoleg from Ukraine. You all managed to work out that the answer to the football phrase was to pick out somebody.
Rowan: At the end of the podcast, there will be a new football phrase. Now it’s time for the roleplay.
Jack: In the role-play this week, Rowan and I are in a cafe and this week, it’s Rowan who’s having a problem.
Rowan: That’s right. I have something I need to discuss with Jack and to ask him for his advice.
Jack: While you listen, we want you to answer this question: What’s Rowan’s problem?
Rowan: Here you are ... a skinny latte for you and an americano for me.
Jack: Thanks. Lovely. So ... what is it you wanted to talk about?
Rowan: Well ... yeah ... I've got a problem with my team.
Jack: Oh, yeah?
Rowan: Yeah, Alice ... my captain, the girl who’s normally the captain, she’s really good. She’s a natural leader and she’s really talented. All the girls get on well with her and she’s basically great.
Jack: OK - so what’s the problem?
Rowan: Well, we’ve got a really tough match next week and Alice has tested positive for covid so she can't play for... well, at least the next few matches.
Jack: How’s she doing?
Rowan: She’s OK, I think. She said she’s been feeling a bit rough, but she’s not too bad.
Jack: Well, that’s good.
Rowan: Yes ... I know ... that’s the most important thing, but we've got some really important games coming up.
Jack: Ah. I see. Have you got someone else who could ... fill her boots?
Rowan: Yes and no. I mean, There are a few players who could be good as captain but I don't know who to pick.
Jack: Go on then, who’ve you got?
Rowan: So, I've got one player, Mel, who is brilliant. She's got amazing ability. She's really talented. She moves so well on the pitch and she's got such control ... I think that the team would feel confident following her, at least because of her ability, but she's a bit of a glory hunter ...
Jack: Well ... that's no good you need someone who is looking out for the team first ...
Rowan: OK ... I've got another player, Poppy, and she’s really smart. I’m sure she’s top of her class at school - she’s really intelligent.
Jack: Sounds good ...
Rowan: She’s always coming up with tactics and when she’s playing, she can read the game really well. She has a good eye for gaps in the opposition and weaknesses in their defence.
Jack: She sounds like an ideal captain.
Rowan: Yeah, she could be ... but she’s a bit shy with the other girls. She’s not really assertive enough.
Jack: That’s a shame. Do you think that she might become more assertive if you gave her a chance?
Rowan: She might. I’m just not sure how the rest of the team would feel about it.
Jack: Hmmm. So is it a choice between those two?
Rowan: No. There’s one other girl I’m thinking of, Hannah. She’s not as naturally talented, but she is ... well ... Everyone likes her. She’s a really important team member. She is really confident ... friendly and outgoing. She’s funny and I think she'd be really good at keeping the team together. I think the team would listen to her.
Jack: That's a really tough decision you've got to make.
Rowan: I know. I’d like to give Poppy a go, but ...
Jack: What are your opponents like next week?
Rowan: That’s the thing. They’re really tough. The last time we played them they beat us 3-0.
Jack: I see. So, I think you should probably choose the person who's going to give your team more confidence.
Rowan: I think you're right.Thanks.
Feedback & Language Focus
Jack: Before the roleplay, we asked you what Rowan's problem was and the answer was ... her Captain, the captain of the team she coaches has tested positive for covid so won't be able to play in an important match.
Rowan: So I had to decide who would be the best person to replace her as team captain.
Jack: A team captain is the leader of the team so in this language focus, we’re going to talk about different characteristics or qualities of a leader.
Rowan: I had to choose between three players, Mel, Poppy and Hannah. Let’s talk about these players again and about their leadership qualities.
Jack: The first player you suggested was Mel. You said that Mel was brilliant.
Rowan: I like the word brilliant. It normally means really good. So you can be brilliant at something. Mel is definitely brilliant at football.
Jack: Or you can just be brilliant which is a strong adjective meaning extremely intelligent or skilled.
Rowan: I also said that Mel was talented. To be talented means to have a talent.
Jack: If you have a talent, then you have a natural ability. We normally talk about talent meaning a natural ability in sport or in music. A person with a talent will be able to learn how to do something well, more quickly than normal. So if you have a musical talent, you may be able to learn how to play a musical instrument quickly.
Rowan: Being brilliant at something or being talented at something are important qualities for a leader because a leader needs to inspire the people they lead.
Jack: I don’t think that this is always essential. I know there are some football managers who are great leaders - better managers than they were players, perhaps.
Rowan: But in lots of situations, it is important that a leader can lead by example, that is, they can provide an example or model of the way they want their team to behave.
Jack: You also said that Mel would give your team confidence. I think that’s another important phrase: to give someone confidence. This means to make the person feel confident about something.
Rowan: Another important collocation is to inspire confidence. A good leader can inspire confidence in their team. You sometimes hear about things that a manager can do to build confidence. This means to increase the level of confidence that the team feels.
Jack: And if something really bad happens, you can say that it has shattered someone’s confidence. You could say that losing the team captain has shattered the team’s confidence ahead of an important match.
Rowan: Let’s move on to Poppy. I said that Poppy was really smart. In this case, smart means clever or intelligent.
Jack: These days, it’s not only people who can be smart. You can have smartphones, smart watches ...
Rowan: My oven claims to be smart. It has bluetooth so you can turn it on from your phone. I have never used that feature.
Jack: A couple of days ago, I read a story online about someone losing their smart shoes and I thought, what are smart shoes, do they have a step counter or gps and then I realised that they meant the more traditional meaning of smart. You can describe clothes as smart when they are formal and professional looking. I don’t wear smart clothes very often.
Rowan: I said that Poppy was always coming up with tactics and could read the game. This is very important for a leader, especially a football captain.
Jack: Sometimes, this quality is described as vision. If a person has vision, they have a clear idea about how to direct their team in an intelligent way. They can ‘see’ the best way to lead their team.
Rowan: I suppose a person could have a strong vision that was wrong, but we normally use this characteristic to describe successful leaders.
Jack: However, you were a bit concerned about Poppy because you said that you didn’t think she was assertive enough.
Rowan: Assertive is similar to confident, but it’s used to describe someone who confidently shares their ideas and opinions. To assert means to say that something is true. In a way, if you assert an idea, you are saying that you have confidence in the idea. You can also assert yourself which means to act in a way that expresses confidence in yourself and your own ideas.
Jack: If people are shy, then they might be advised to assert themselves more, especially in a working situation. You might hear someone say ‘you have really good ideas, you should assert yourself more in meetings’.
Rowan: Let’s move on to Hannah.
Jack: You said that Hannah was a very important team member. Sometimes people say that someone is a team player. This means they are good at working closely with other people. I think that this is used in a negative way a lot to describe someone who doesn’t really work well with others. You sometimes hear people say, she’s really good at her job but she’s not much of a team player. This means that she doesn’t work well with other people.
Rowan: I described Hannah as friendly and outgoing. When you are talking about a leader, these are sometimes part of communication skills. Communication skills are the skills you need to be able to speak to different people in a way that is clear and effective.
Jack: I read an article about communication skills that summarised them as the seven cs,
Clear - you have to be easy to understand.
Concise - you have to be able to express your ideas without saying too much, you have to keep your descriptions short
Concrete - your ideas need to be based on real things, not abstract ideas
Correct - You have to be right about what you are talking about
Coherent - This is similar to clear and correct, but it can imply that your ideas remain consistent and you don’t say one thing one day and then change your mind the next
Complete - you don’t want to leave people guessing or with too many questions
And the last c is courteous - which means you have to be polite and show respect.
Rowan: These are very important qualities for effective communication, but there’s something missing that I think is important for a leader, that I think Hannah has. I said that Hannah was funny, so when she talks, people want to listen to her. I think that a good leader needs to communicate effectively, but they also have to engage with people, they have to be interesting so people want to listen to them.
Jack: At the end of the role-play, you made a decision about who you would ask to be the new captain.
Rowan: Yes, but I don’t want to share my decision here. Instead, I want to ask our listeners who they think would be the best captain.
Jack: Good idea. Which of the leadership skills do you think are the most important?
Rowan: Let us know in the comments section on the podcast page on Premier Skills English.
Jack: I think you should choose one this time, Rowan. Can you think of something?
Rowan: Sure - How about *******? This word, it’s just a word this week means captain or leader. It’s an interesting word because it originally comes from sailing boats. The captain of a boat is often called this. The word has been used for the captain on a boat for hundreds of years but came to be used as the captain of a sports team from 1830.
Jack: Wow. so the word ******* for the captain of a team has been around a long time. Longer even than association football.
Rowan: If you know the answer, what the football word I described is, leave a comment on the page for this podcast on the Premier Skills English website. If you have a football phrase that you would like us to use in the podcast, just get in touch and let us know.
Jack: Before we finish we just wanted to say that we hope you found this podcast and the vocabulary useful and we hope all of you stay fit and healthy.
Rowan: Bye for now and enjoy your football.
An important quality
In this activity, you need to work out what the quality is and then spot the most important collocations.
Rowan had to choose a new captain. She spoke to Jack about the different candidates and their leadership qualities. Can you match the qualities with the descriptions?
The seven Cs of good communication skills
Can you match the seven Cs with the meanings?
Your task this week is to answer the following questions?
Rowan described three players. Who do you think would make the best captain?
- The most skilful player?
- the most intelligent player?
- The friendliest player?
Which of the leadership skills do you think are the most important?