"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."

Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005), American management consultant
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This Business English ESL lesson plan on management has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

If leadership is inspiring people into action, management is ensuring that people do what they are supposed to do. There are a number of ways managers can achieve this, and we call these management styles. Some managers may motivate to achieve their teams’ objectives; other managers may employ a more coercive style. Either way, a manager is judged on whether they achieved their objectives, not necessarily on the methods used. In this Business English lesson plan on management, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the role of a manager, and what makes someone a successful manager.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Personio | The 6 Goleman Leadership Styles: Which Is Yours?

The article looks at Daniel Goleman’s six styles of leadership that managers can use depending on the situation. These styles are: coercive, authoritative, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, and coaching. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any other management styles?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TEDx Talk by Dr. Axel Zein called “The Perfect Boss” which compares the work of a business manager to a sports manager.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the difference between a manager and a leader, to what extent the manager should make the decisions, and whether there is a difference between how men and women manage.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with management such as demoralise, micromanage and facilitate. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about management. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as their preferred management styles, how managers can help their team to grow, and how the students would do things differently if they were their manager.


After the class, students will write an email to their manager explaining how to improve team morale. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.


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4 thoughts on “Management”

  1. Your material is great, I love the structure and specially the questions, would it be possible to share your business class about Presentations?

    Thank you anyway, I’m just starting out so I couldn’t donate much, but hopefully in the future!

      1. I was wondering if you could share with us your class about presentations, one of the topics I saw in your business course. Thanks again!

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