BEP 345 – Management English: Conflict Resolution (2)

BEP 345 Lesson - Management English: Conflict Resolution (2)

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on resolving conflict in the workplace.

Conflict happens. There’s no way around it. But not everyone has the same attitude toward conflict. Some people run from it, or refuse to even admit it exists. Other people acknowledge it but simply hope it goes away on its own. And some people are able to approach it with confidence, dealing with it openly and honestly.

The first step in conflict resolution is for the people involved to sit down and try to work it out themselves. But that doesn’t always work, and in many cases it takes a third party to attempt to find solutions. That third party might be a peer, or colleague. But mostly it’s a manager or leader. In fact, helping mediate conflict between people is an important function of a manager.

Effective mediation is a tricky business. You need to help people have the open and honest conversations that they might not be able to have on their own. Part of that involves ensuring each person has their turn to speak. One of your aims, of course, is common understanding, so you may need to encourage empathy and confirm understanding at different steps along the way.

As a conflict mediator, your ultimate aim it to find a solution. To do that, you’ll want to have people agree on a common goal. You may also ask them to focus on positive actions, rather than negative ones. Positive actions are more solution-focused.

In today’s dialog, we’ll continue hearing about a conflict between Trevor and Andrew, two retail managers in the same company. Trevor has tried talking with Andrew about their personal conflict, but they haven’t been able to reach a clear solution. So their boss Ann has stepped in as a third-party to help resolve the conflict.

Listening Questions

1. What does Ann do when Trevor interrupts Andrew at the start of the dialog?
2. After Andrew explains his side of the story, what does Ann ask Trevor?
3. What is the common goal for the solution Ann proposes?

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BEP 344 – Management English: Conflict Resolution (1)

Business English Lesson BEP 344 - Management English: Conflict Resolution (1)

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on how to resolve conflict.

Just say the word “conflict” and people usually get uncomfortable. Most people want to avoid conflict at all costs. But conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. In fact, it’s a natural result of people working in groups. And in a healthy organization, conflict can actually be constructive. It can lead to personal and professional growth, as well as new ideas and ways of working.

But those positive results of conflict can only be realized if people are willing to face conflict directly and honestly. If people ignore conflict, or refuse to face it, then bad things can happen. Unresolved conflict leads to toxicity and poisoned relationships or teams. Given enough time, it can destroy a company.

So if you experience conflict with someone at work, what can you do? Well, the first step involves trying to work things out one-on-one. You need to talk, privately and openly. And when you do, it’s important to focus on the impact of the other person’s behavior and to try to identify the root cause of the problem. At the same time, you should consider the other sides views and ask them about their perceptions, rather than just focusing on yours. Stick to the facts as you try to resist arguing, and always look for possible solutions.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear a retail manager named Trevor try to resolve a conflict he’s having with Andrew, a manager at another store in the same company. Trevor is trying to calmly deal with the situation and find a way to improve their working relationship.

Listening Questions

1. What does Trevor say he felt as a result of Andrew’s behavior?
2. How does Trevor respond when Andrew gives him examples of employees that have changed workplaces?
3. What solution does Trevor propose?

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BEP 312 – Business by Phone 2: Discussing Staffing Issues

BEP 312 - Business English Telephone 2: Discussing Staffing Issues

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson about discussing staffing issues over the phone.

One of a company’s most valuable assets is its staff. A good staff can mean the difference between success and failure. But even with an excellent staff, every manager knows there will be challenges. I don’t mean big problems, just the regular, ongoing challenges of planning, hiring, training, and support.

Everyone knows the importance of communication skills in business, especially when it comes to HR and staffing. But effective communication is even more important on the phone, because everything depends on technique and your choice of words.

Discussing any sort of issue on the phone might start with informing someone, like your boss, of a problem or challenge. And when you do that, you should also be sure to show how you’ve taken ownership of the challenge. Of course, staffing costs money, which means dealing with issues might involve asking for budget approval. And, if you’re discussing turnover of staff, you might also have to outline retention strategies, or ways of keeping good people around. Finally, any time you present an idea, you’ll probably want to want to gauge support for that idea.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Cam and Annette. Cam is a production manager for Boston Vintage, an American clothing company with an office in China. Annette works in the China office, and she’s calling Cam to discuss some staffing issues. As you’ll hear, she’s dealing with the resignation of an important company employee.

Listening Questions

1. What does Annette say she could have done to avoid the issue?
2. What are Annette’s ideas about retention, or how to keep good people at the company?
3. Why does Annette ask about “head office” near the end of the dialog?

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BEP 297 – English Idioms for Describing Work Experience (2)

Business English Pod 297 Lesson - English Idioms for Describing Work Experience 2

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English idioms for describing work experience.

In business, success depends on putting the right people in the right positions. And decisions about who does what often comes down to work experience. Some jobs are too important to give to someone lacking experience. For other jobs, you might want a person with less experience and a fresh approach.

So, whether you’re hiring new staff, delegating tasks, or putting together a project team, you’ll be talking about experience. And English has many useful idioms to describe work experience. In today’s lesson, we’ll learn some of these expressions.

We’ll hear a conversation between three colleagues: Lola, Shane, and Anne. The group has been discussing who to send to the company’s South Korean office. Previously, they have talked about the personality of the different candidates. Now they’re comparing the candidates based on work experience.

Listening Questions

1. Why do Shane and Anne think Douglas wouldn’t be a good choice for the position?
2. What does the group think about Paula as a possible choice?
3. Why would Kendra be a good choice for the post in South Korea?

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BEP 296 – English Idioms for Describing Work Experience (1)

BEP 296 - English Idioms for Describing Work Experience (1)

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on English idioms for describing work experience.

In business, success depends on putting the right people in the right positions. And decisions about who does what often comes down to work experience. Some jobs are too important to give to someone lacking experience. For other jobs, you might want a person with less experience and a fresh approach.

So, whether you’re hiring new staff, delegating tasks, or putting together a project team, you’ll be talking about experience. And English has many useful idioms to describe work experience. In today’s lesson, we’ll learn some of these expressions.

We’ll hear a conversation between three colleagues: Lola, Shane, and Anne. The group has been discussing who to send to the company’s South Korean office. Previously, they have talked about the personality of the different candidates. Now they’re comparing the candidates based on work experience.

Listening Questions

1. Why do Lola and Anne think Hank might not be a good person for the position?
2. What positive comment does Shane make about Simone?
3. What makes Simone a potentially poor choice for the position?

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