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What Managers Really Do - IELTS Reading Passage with Questions and Answers

Updated on 15 January, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

The role of a manager in any organization is multifaceted and often misunderstood. This passage delves into the real responsibilities and challenges faced by managers in the modern workplace. It's designed to provide IELTS learners with a clear understanding of managerial roles, while testing their comprehension skills through a variety of question formats.

Passage: What Managers Really Do

In an ever-evolving business landscape, the role of a manager remains critically important yet widely misunderstood. Far from the traditional view of managers as mere overseers of workflows and team performance, modern management encompasses a broader spectrum of responsibilities, blending leadership, strategy, communication, and innovation.

Understanding the Role

At its core, the role of a manager is to ensure that an organization's objectives are met through the effective use of resources, including human, financial, and technological. Managers act as a linchpin between the strategic level of an organization and its operational frontline. They are tasked with interpreting the vision of the company's leadership and translating it into actionable plans that teams can execute. This process involves a deep understanding of the organization's goals, the competitive landscape, and the unique strengths and weaknesses of their team members.

Strategic Planning and Execution

One of the key aspects of management is strategic planning. This involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve these goals, and mobilizing resources to execute these actions. A manager's day-to-day activities might include developing project plans, assessing risks, and adjusting strategies based on real-time feedback and market conditions.

Communication: The Heart of Management

Effective communication is perhaps the most critical skill for any manager. This involves clearly articulating goals and expectations, providing regular feedback, and fostering an environment where team members feel valued and heard. A manager must be adept at both conveying their own ideas and listening to others. This two-way communication helps in building trust and aligning the team's efforts with organizational objectives.

Team Development and Leadership

Another vital aspect of management is team development. Managers are responsible for identifying and nurturing the talents of their team members. This includes providing training, career development advice, and opportunities for skill enhancement. By investing in their team's growth, managers not only improve the capabilities of their individual team members but also enhance the overall strength and adaptability of their organization.

Conflict Resolution and Problem-Solving

No day in a manager's life is without its challenges. Conflict resolution is a significant part of the job. Managers need to address disagreements and tensions within their team, ensuring a harmonious and productive work environment. This requires a deep understanding of human behavior, empathy, and the ability to remain neutral while navigating interpersonal dynamics.

Innovation and Change Management

In today's fast-paced business environment, a manager must be an agent of change. This involves being open to new ideas, technologies, and methodologies. Managers must lead their teams through changes, whether it involves adopting new software, shifting market strategies, or navigating economic shifts. This requires a mindset that welcomes innovation and the ability to manage the uncertainty that often accompanies change.

Ethical Leadership and Corporate Responsibility

Managers also play a crucial role in fostering an ethical work environment and ensuring corporate responsibility. They are expected to lead by example, demonstrating integrity, fairness, and a commitment to ethical practices. This includes ensuring compliance with laws and regulations, addressing any form of misconduct, and making decisions that reflect the company's values and ethical standards.

Balancing Stakeholder Interests

A manager must balance the interests of various stakeholders, including employees, customers, shareholders, and the community. This involves understanding the diverse needs and expectations of these groups and making decisions that align with the broader objectives of the organization while considering the impact on each stakeholder group.

The Manager as a Coach and Mentor

Increasingly, managers are taking on the role of coaches and mentors. This involves providing guidance, support, and feedback to help team members develop their skills and advance their careers. By acting as a mentor, a manager can help foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement within their team.

Questions and Answers

Q1. What is a key role of managers in an organization?

  1. A) Solely overseeing projects
  2. B) Acting as a bridge between workforce and upper management
  3. C) Focusing only on team development
  4. D) Avoiding conflicts


The correct answer is B) Acting as a bridge between workforce and upper management. Managers play a crucial role in translating higher-level strategies into actionable plans for their teams, effectively bridging the gap between the workforce and the company's upper management.

Q2. True or False: Effective communication for managers only involves transmitting ideas and instructions.

  1. A) True
  2. B) False


The answer is B) False. Effective communication for managers involves much more than just transmitting ideas and instructions. It also includes active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution skills.

Q3. Fill in the blank: Managers must be able to lead their teams through _______, such as adopting new technologies.

  1. A) Challenges
  2. B) Changes
  3. C) Successes
  4. D) Failures


The correct answer is B) Changes. The passage highlights the importance of innovation and adaptability, particularly in leading teams through changes like adopting new technologies.

Q4. What does the development of team members reflect on a manager?

  1. A) The manager's inability to delegate tasks
  2. B) The manager's skill in nurturing talent
  3. C) The manager's focus on individual weaknesses
  4. D) The manager's preference for experienced team members


  1. B) The manager's skill in nurturing talent is the correct answer. The growth of each team member under a manager's guidance reflects their ability to nurture talent and provide opportunities for development.


Q5. Which of the following is not typically a responsibility of a manager?

  1. A) Developing marketing strategies
  2. B) Resolving interpersonal conflicts
  3. C) Overseeing projects and teams
  4. D) Teaching technical skills


  1. D) Teaching technical skills is not typically a responsibility of a manager. While managers are involved in team development and skill enhancement, the direct teaching of technical skills is often not their primary role.

Q6. Multiple Choice: Effective management requires the ability to:

  1. A) Only focus on short-term goals
  2. B) Ignore team weaknesses
  3. C) Adapt to changing business landscapes
  4. D) Avoid stakeholder negotiations


  1. C) Adapt to changing business landscapes. As mentioned in the passage, successful managers must be innovative and adaptable, capable of guiding their teams through various changes in the business environment.

Q7. Fill in the blank: A manager’s day might include negotiating with _______, communicating changes in company policy, and resolving team conflicts.

  1. A) Competitors
  2. B) Stakeholders
  3. C) Customers only
  4. D) External vendors


  1. B) Stakeholders. The passage specifies that part of a manager's communication responsibilities includes negotiating with stakeholders, among other tasks.

Q8. True or False: Managers are solely responsible for implementing company policies without contributing to their development.

  1. A) True
  2. B) False


  1. B) False. Managers are not only responsible for implementing company policies but often play a role in shaping and developing these policies through their strategic input and understanding of ground-level operations.

Q9. What does effective conflict resolution by managers demonstrate?

  1. A) Inability to focus on important tasks
  2. B) Lack of clear communication
  3. C) Strong leadership and empathy
  4. D) Disinterest in team dynamics


  1. C) Strong leadership and empathy. Effective conflict resolution is a hallmark of strong leadership and empathy, demonstrating a manager's ability to understand and address various interpersonal issues within the team.

Q10. In the context of the passage, which attribute is least associated with a manager’s role?

  1. A) Innovation
  2. B) Mediation
  3. C) Technical expertise in all areas
  4. D) Strategy formulation


  1. C) Technical expertise in all areas. While managers need a broad understanding of various aspects of their business, having deep technical expertise in all areas is less critical compared to skills like innovation, mediation, and strategy formulation.


Understanding the multifaceted role of a manager is crucial for any aspiring business professional. This passage not only sheds light on the varied responsibilities of managers but also offers IELTS learners an opportunity to enhance their reading and comprehension skills. Through these questions and answers, learners can grasp the complexities of management while preparing effectively for their IELTS reading test.

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upGrad Abroad Team

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