TEFL Business English lesson plan: Bad managers

Here is a Business English lesson plan to use as a conversation class for any students that have a management role.

The theme of the lesson is: Characteristics of a bad boss

The discussion questions are based on the slide show that you can see below.

Actually, on second thoughts, considering that everyone in the workplace can be deeply affected by having a ‘bad boss’, then I suppose you could use this in an English class with students who are not managers themselves. People may have strong opinions on how management disrupts or hinders their working life.

As always, this lesson will work best with talkative students who are not afraid of expressing an opinion. With intelligent follow-up questions based on student answers (especially during part 3 when the student talks through each slide), I can easily imagine the lesson plan below stretching out to 60 minutes plus…. Depending on how forthcoming your students are.




1. Describe a bad boss that you have previously had.

2. What are the results in the workplace of bad managers?  

3. Look at each slide: As you scroll through each one describe how you are different to each point in your management style and actions.

4. Are there any points that when you look at them, you think, ‘actually, I am slightly like that and I should improve on that point’?

5. When you have gone through all of the slides: If you had to pick only one point, which would you highlight as the worst element of bad management and why?

6. Do you think it is possible for someone who is identified as a bad boss to undergo training and become a good boss? Or is it better for a company to just get rid of people like this?

7. Is it only possible to be a great leader if you are a ‘natural’? In other words, is it just one of those things that can’t be taught?

8. Can you think of any management training that you have received in your career (or your education) that was a real eye opener and you changed the way you acted professionally because of it?

9. Does a great boss just have the opposite characteristics of everything outlined in the slideshow… or is there more to it than that?

If you use this lesson, it would be great if you left a comment about how you modified it, or how the students responded. Thanks!

Bren Brennan

About Bren Brennan

Bren initially trained here at SGI and then joined the staff in 2005. Since 2006, he has taught abroad in Budapest, Berlin and now at Mondragon University in Spain. He returns to teach at SGI London every summer and completed the SGI Trinity DipTESOL in 2011. He also regularly writes posts for students here.
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