BEST IELTS General Reading Test 405

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 405


IELTS General Reading Test



Working in Teams

Unless a business is really small, the chances are that people are going to be working at various points as part of a team. Here are some points to bear in mind when considering teams in your business:

• Extend teamworking throughout the organisation to realise its full potential

• Limit the size of teams to increase efficiency

• Give teams ownership of a distinct product process or service

• Select team members with skills to carry out the full range of tasks

• Consider team leadership issues

• Develop the teams’ independence

IELTS General Reading Test

Team Leadership

The influence and usefulness of team leaders come from their ability to lead from the front and in training, coaching, and counselling their team members to high standards of performance, these skills are usually built on their ability to carry out most of the tasks themselves. They also need to be able to co-ordinate and evaluate ideas for operational improvement.

Above all, team leaders need to be capable of facilitating the process of transformation in their organisation. Team leaders are generally selected by management, although the views of the team or group can usually be accommodated. In some organisations, team leaders are elected by team members or have their appointment endorsed by an election.

IELTS General Reading Test

The term ‘team’ is used loosely to describe many different groupings and a variety of labels are given to them. It is doubtful whether any definitions of types of teams would be universally acceptable. Here are three types of team:

1. Operational Teams

Operational teams may be defined as permanent groups of workers with a range of skills organised to produce a product either for internal or external customers. Very occasionally, teams have complete responsibility for converting raw material into a finished product. Alternatively, the ‘product’ of teams may involve completion of a segment of the production process. Different names are given to operational teams, including primary teams, shop-floor teams, autonomous work groups, cells or cellular teams and self-managed teams.

IELTS General Reading Test

2. Service Teams

In manufacturing organisations, service teams commonly comprise maintenance, administrative and clerical staff and provide support to production areas. In commercial and service organisations, teams are likely to be based on the need to service a particular client or group of clients.

3. Cross-Functional Teams

Cross-functional teams are made up of representatives from various functions and disciplines. They tend to be set up to look at particular problems or issues, either on a part-time basis or full-time for a fixed duration. Issues commonly dealt with by cross-functional teams are quality improvement and product development. To be effective, members of cross-functional teams will also frequently be members of other teams.

IELTS General Reading Test

Questions 15 – 21

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the text? In boxes 15 – 21 on your answer sheet write:

TRUE – if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE – if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN – if there is no information on this

15. Smaller teams are more effective.

16. The key quality for a team leader is his/her ability to implement change.

17. Electing a team leader can often be a cause of team conflict.

18. The process of overseeing an entire production process is not usually an appropriate task for a team.

19. Operational teams should be set up with a hierarchical structure.

20. Service teams are set up only in manufacturing business types.

21. Cross functional teams members must not be members of other teams or they will be too distracted to complete their duties.

IELTS General Reading Test

Read the text below and answer Questions 22-27.

Managing Staff Absence

Research increasingly shows that employers who manage attendance save money and improve effectiveness.

The 3 points to make note of when managing staff absence are early intervention, good communication and flexibility.

IELTS General Reading Test

People are absent from work for three reasons:

• They are sick — they might have a common cold or a more complicated medical condition that needs medication, an operation or recuperation. Employees should either fill in a self-certificate explaining their short-term sickness in reasonable detail or they should get a Statement of Fitness for Work (also known as a doctor’s statement or ‘fit note’) if the illness lasts more than six days.

IELTS General Reading Test

• They feel they are unable to come to work because of family or caring responsibilities or they simply do not want to come to work — they may be unhappy, or lack motivation. Sometimes employees take sick absence because they feel they cannot ask for annual leave at short notice. Some unauthorised absence may require disciplinary action.

• They are on authorised leave such as holiday, on a training course, or on maternity/paternity or some form of leave related to their caring or family commitments. They may also be on jury service or some other form of community obligation.

IELTS General Reading Test

Most of the absences you will have to tackle will be due to sickness; this accounts for eighty per cent of all absences.

Try to get at the root causes of absence by:

… having prompt return to work discussions — no matter how long or briefly the employee has been away.

… keeping in regular contact about any ongoing concerns the employee may have —i.e. if caring responsibilities sometimes require the employee to be absent at short notice.

… offering support where you can. This might mean discussing with your employee an earlier return to work — especially in cases where their doctor has advised that they may be fit for work.

IELTS General Reading Test

According to the latest Absence Survey, the average worker is absent from work for 6.5 days a year. This figure varies from one workplace to another, but the cost to this country’s economy is $25 billion annually. To judge the real cost of absence in your organisation, take a look at how things work when someone is away. You may see problems in your workplace associated with:

• hiring, and paying for, temporary replacement staff

• missed deadlines due to a lack of qualified, experienced staff

• customer satisfaction levels

• low morale among colleagues expected to take on extra responsibilities

• diminished reputation with customers and even lost business

IELTS General Reading Test

Questions 22 — 27

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text for each answer.

22. What should a staff member provide if they can’t obtain a fit note?

23. What example is given of a reason for an absence due to public duty?

24. What is the main cause for absenteeism?

25. What example is given of a reason for an employee’s short notice absence?

26. What can be the result of a shortage of trained and experienced employees?

27. What can absences cause amongst other staff members?

IELTS General Reading Test


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BEST IELTS General Reading Test 405

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15. TRUE

16. TRUE


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IELTS General Reading Test

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