Boss or Leader?

Theresa Dash - reviewer of the lesson   Tom I February 03, 2023
Business English, Speaking Lessons, English for HR
Work, Human Resources
B2 Upper-Intermediate, C1 Advanced
Mixed Grammar
Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
30 minutes
Students discussing leadership roles and qualities in an online English lesson, with a video explaining the difference between a boss and a leader.

Lesson Overview

Do you have what it takes to call the shots? In this lesson, students will discuss the topic of leadership and the roles and qualities of a leader in the modern world. This lesson features a video that explains the difference between being a boss and a leader. Students will learn and practice vocabulary relating to the topic. The lesson includes plenty of engaging discussion activities and worksheets that have been developed for adult and teenage learners.

Lesson Objectives

  • Listening: Students will listen to a video depicting a scenario between a manager and an employee. They will focus on understanding the tone and intent behind the spoken words and the leadership qualities displayed.

  • Speaking: Through role-play exercises, students will simulate conversations that reflect both positive and negative leadership traits. This will help them articulate their thoughts on what makes an effective leader versus a mere boss.

  • Vocabulary: Key vocabulary related to leadership, such as "transparency," "motivate," and "inspire," will be introduced. Students will practice these words in various contexts to solidify their understanding and usage.

  • Cultural Awareness: Discussion will revolve around different leadership styles across various cultures and how these styles affect workplace dynamics. Students will compare the characteristics of bosses and leaders and discuss the impact of each on team morale and productivity.

  • Homework: Students will complete exercises that involve matching descriptions of actions to either a boss or a leader, rewriting phrases to use new vocabulary, and reflecting on personal experiences with different types of leadership.


Do you work with a boss or a leader? Does he/she point fingers or extend a hand? Watch this video to find out the difference between a boss and a leader.

Video Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

call the shots [idiom]: to take the initiative in deciding how something should be done
leadership [noun]: the action of leading a group of people or an organization; guidance
burden [noun]: a heavy load or weight
visionary [noun]: a person with original ideas about what the future will or could be like
goal-setter [noun]: a person decides what you want to achieve or what you want someone else to achieve over a particular period
competent [adjective]: having the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do something successfully
decisive [adjective]: (of a person) having or showing the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively
newbie [noun]: an inexperienced newcomer to a particular activity
transparent [adjective]: having thoughts, feelings, or motives that are easily perceived
solicit [verb]: to ask for or try to obtain (something) from someone
model [verb]: to use (a system, procedure, etc.) as an example to follow or imitate
capacity [noun]: the ability to do something in particular
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