Managing Challenging Colleagues: addressing underperformance and negotiating for improvement

Schools are under intense pressure to improve and turning around your poor or ‘satisfactory’ staff could make all the difference. This course is designed to give delegates effective techniques for approaching ‘well defended’ colleagues, skills in negotiating for improvement and the confidence to address challenging areas of underperformance in the context of meaningful performance management.
If these techniques don’t turn them around, your case for embarking on formal procedures will be all the stronger.

Who is it suitable for?

Headteachers, senior leaders, heads of department and subject leaders in primary and secondary schools.  

What will you learn?

Personal confidence and the practical skills in a critical area of leadership: the ability to hold ‘courageous conversations’ when addressing sensitive issues of underperformance. The day will be an active one, involving some role play and work in triads. 

Delegates will:

  • Learn how to apply conflict management skills to challenging situations of underperformance
  • Develop their listening and critical feedback skills
  • Acquire a set of techniques and strategies
  • Consider how to negotiate meaningful targets and contract for improvement
  • Use informal procedures to establish solid grounds for formal procedures if necessary.


  • Identifying the behaviours and characteristics of underperforming colleagues
  • Choosing effective strategic and emotional approaches
  • Understanding and motivating difficult colleagues
  • Preparing for the ‘courageous conversation’
  • Overcoming defensiveness and denial
  • Negotiating for improvement
  • Preparing for formal procedures

Cost: £750 per day plus expenses.

“It was excellent.  I feel empowered! Very relevant, up to date and very useful.”  

“Very well delivered. A lot covered at a good pace. Much more impressive course leader than any I've met!”

“Incredibly useful to me in my role as senior leader.”

“Super course! Steeled my resolve to deal with a corrosive situation.”

“Thank-you Edward. I feel Empowered.”

“Sessions were directly relevant to my role and have the potential to have a direct impact on raising standards of teaching and learning.”

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Leadership training Schools challenging colleagues