Module 3 – Leading in Adversity: Difficult Conversations and Challenging Situations

Engaging colleagues in difficult conversations can trigger emotions ranging from embarrassment, irritation and resentment to anxiety, fear and even anger.

Whether tackling poor performance, investigating or responding to complaints, supporting colleagues with personal problems or tackling personality clashes, there can be a temptation to want to avoid these conversations altogether.

This interactive The Language of Leadership: finding your own voice programme module provides a model framework for structuring the conversation and focuses on careful preparation and early intervention as an efficient – and ultimately time-saving – way of diffusing tension, creating mutual understanding, enhancing individual performance and promoting good teamwork.

Please note – this module is intended to complement the Feedback: Leadership for a Learning, No-Blame Culture module but can also be attended also a ‘stand-alone’ module.

  • Duration: 1 day
  • Delivery: Virtual
  • Methods: Presentation, whole group discussion and activities, breakout sessions, role play, video clips, reflective journaling etc.
  • Pre-event preparation: None
  • Post-event work: Book next modules according to the individual’s leadership development objectives, follow-up on individual Action Plan decided at end of the session, and follow-up using Delegate Resource Handbook together with list of further resources provided in the Slide Pack

Please click the links below for more information about this module:

Who can attend

Anyone who has previously attended The Language of Leadership – Introduction day.

Aims and learning outcomes


– To develop personal confidence in engaging colleagues in potentially difficult conversations
– To enhance interpersonal skills, including listening
– To offer suggestions for preparing, conducting and following-up the conversation

Please note – this module is intended to complement Module 6 ‘Feedback: Leadership for a Learning, No-Blame Culture’ but can also be attended also a ‘stand-alone’ module.

 Learning outcomes:

Having attended this module, delegates will be able to:

– Feel confident in your abilities to have important conversations with colleagues
– Use model frameworks to prepare and conduct the conversation effectively
– Conduct the conversation in alignment with your purpose and values

Associated GMC Generic Professional Capabilities (GPC)

Domain 2: Professional Skills (Communication and interpersonal skills)
– Demonstrating active listening skills
– Demonstrating cultural and social awareness
– Effectively managing challenging conversations or consultations
– Applying management and team-working skills appropriately. Including influencing, negotiating, continuously re-assessing priorities and effectively managing complex, dynamic situations
– Maintaining appropriate situational awareness and sensitivity to the impact of their comments and behaviours on others

Domain 5: Capabilities in leadership and team working
– Demonstrating an understanding of why leadership and team- working is important in their role as a clinician
– Showing awareness of their leadership responsibilities as a clinician and why effective clinical leadership is central to safe and effective care
– Demonstrating an understanding of a range of leadership principles, approaches and techniques, and applying them in practice
– Demonstrating appropriate leadership behaviour and an ability to adapt their leadership behaviour to improve engagement and outcomes
– Appreciating their leadership style and its impact on others
– Actively participating and contributing to the work and success of a team (appropriate followership)
– Thinking critically about decision-making, reflecting on decision-making processes and explaining those decisions to others in an honest and transparent way
– Supervising, challenging, influencing, appraising and mentoring colleagues and peers to enhance performance and to support development
– Promoting a culture of learning and academic and professional critical enquiry

Domain 8: Capabilities in education and training
– Providing supportive developmental feedback, both verbally and in writing, to learners and doctors in training
– Evaluating and reflecting on the effectiveness of their educational activities
– Giving timely and constructive feedback on learning activities and opportunities

Faculty biography

Anneliese Guerin-LeTendre

Anneliese is an experienced leadership coach, teacher, trainer and facilitator in the public and private sector, and has been working in the NHS since 2008, developing and delivering programmes on leadership, communication, culture, culture change, diversity and inclusion, and wellbeing.

Anneliese’s work – based on the principles of Transformational and Vertical Development Leadership – takes a holistic approach, aligning interpersonal communication skills with values, life purpose and meaning, to offer insights for personal and professional growth and self-empowerment.


– Wessex training grade doctors and Wessex SAS/Specialty grade doctors are funded by Wessex, so no study leave claims will be necessary for course fees.
– Other delegates are required to pay a nominal fee.

Cancellation penalties may apply. Please refer to the Accent Course Manager Cancellation and Refund Policy.

How to book

Delegates will be invited to attend once they have attended The Language of Leadership – Introduction day.