Discovering leadership in organisations


A four day non-residential immersive learning conference for developing effective leadership. Whether you are looking to change the culture of your organisation, work more effectively with your team, or wish to help promote creativity, this group relations conference could help you take up your role differently, be a better leader and develop an unfolding sense of organisational behaviour and the part we all play.

Download the application form

05 September 2016 to 08 September 2016
Tavistock Centre
Who is this course for?

Applications are welcome from anyone who is interested in understanding more about groups and organisations, working as leaders and managers or consultants in the public, private or independent sectors.  It is particularly relevant for anyone with an interest in exploring the nature of leadership.
A proportion of the conference places are reserved for members of the Postgraduate Diploma/MA in Consulting and leading in organisations: psychodynamic and systemic approaches (D10). 

Course outline

The programme consists of a series of events that build on each other to allow members the space for exploration and cumulative learning. For example:

The Intergroup Event starts with an opportunity to explore personal effectiveness in an interpersonal face-to-face group and goes on to explore dynamics arising between groups and also within groups when linked to a wider system.  The event allows exploration of the experience of crossing group boundaries and the issues for an individual in representing one group to another group.

Whole System Meetings explore the organisational dynamics of the conference itself as an organisation and the problems of individual effectiveness in a large group.

The Staff Management Event explores the boundary and dynamics between members and conference staff in a management role. This facilitates learning about issues that arise between those in authority and those who may perceive themselves as less powerful. The exercise of authority, leadership and creativity by both staff and members may also be studied.

The Resource Management Event explores the dynamics of delegated authority, leadership and followership, and the management of resources.

Personal Development Groups are provided to review the progress of members’ learning towards the end of the conference, with a focus on making links with members' own work environment in order that the learning may be applied after the conference.

The programme is designed as a whole. Applicants who cannot attend the whole programme should contact the Conference Administrator at the time of application.

This is a rewarding, but demanding programme and so applicants currently experiencing stressful circumstances such as divorce, bereavement or serious illness, are advised to attend at another time.

Please note the conference is non-residential.

Why study with us?

Leadership? Energy? Empowerment? Creativity? Co-operative endeavour? Infighting? Destructive competition? Lethargy? Cynicism?

How many of these describe your organisation, or the organisations you work with?

How does leadership emerge in an organisation?

Do you understand how organisations work below the surface and what you might do to make them work more effectively?

Whether your pre-occupation is culture change at a macro level in the private sector, working more effectively with your team in the NHS, or a wish to help promote creativity, this Group Relations Conference could help you take up your role differently, be a better leader, and develop an unfolding sense of organisations, and the part you, and we all, play.

A group relations conference is a personal development programme, which aims to increase personal effectiveness in any organisational role.  Development happens through experiential learning - that is, learning from the immediate experience of participation in, and reflection on, the conference events.

This particular conference will offer participants an opportunity to discover what may underpin leadership effectiveness at personal, group and organisational levels.  The method is not one of conventional conferences.  The conference is designed to be a miniature organisation in which a range of events take place that mirror typical organisational situations and in which you will experience leadership and followership in unrehearsed ways, in different group configurations.

The primary task of these activities is to study organisational behaviour as it happens.  This creates a continuous process of feedback about organisational behaviour from staff and other participants. Issues are explored in relation to awareness of the impact of self on others and the impact of others on self, leadership, followership, group membership, lateral and vertical collaboration, delegation and representative roles.



What participants say?

"I felt surprised, distressed, humbled and finally, deeply emotionally impressed that I had so much to learn, and that the event evoked layers of personal experience of which I was hardly aware, and which can be traced back many years, if not further."

September 2014 participant

"I experienced the conference as rich and intense learning which I anticipate I will be learning from for a long time.  It was particularly useful not be given ‘answers’ and sometimes to be offered possibilities.  This enabled me to find my own answers.  Early learning is that I have a much clearer understanding of my own leadership and what can get in way.  I feel tangible change on a personal level which I have taken into my professional life."

September 2014 participant




5th - 8th September 2016

Entry requirements

Anyone working in or with an organisation.


Independent Applicants - £650

Tavistock Students and Trainees - £580, unless the fee is included in your course fee. Please consult your course director.

A group discount is available to groups of 3 or more from the same organisation. Please contact the Conference Administrator for details.

Cancellation charges
Less than 2 weeks in advance of first day: 100%
Between 2-8 weeks in advance of first day: 50%
Between 8-12 weeks in advance of first day: 25%


Course tutor

Director, Lydia Hartland-Rowe, is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Course Lead within the Psychoanalytic Applied Portfolio at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. She has many years’ experience of group relations work in a variety of roles across a range of different conferences. Lydia is a Cohort Director on the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson NHS Leadership Academy Programme. [email protected]

Associate Director, Dr Kay Trainor, is a Principal Consultant and Executive Education Lead at Tavistock Consulting, where she directs the Masters programme in Organisational Consultancy. She works as an executive coach and organisational consultant in a range of organisations spanning corporate, media, health and third sectors. She has a passion for Group Relations work and has directed conferences nationally and internationally. [email protected]