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We all tend to avoid conflict and conversations that we find difficult. Courageous leadership, however, requires us to engage in those conversations with confidence, intentionality, and clarity.

Fellows whose ILEs are built around this theme focus on learning how to listen deeply, become more aware of their own reactions and priorities, and speak with influences and outcomes.

Learning Goals:

  • Stay present and confident in difficult conversations
  • Become more aware of and overcome personal triggers in conflict situations
  • Advocate for themself and become more assertive
  • Create workable outcomes for everyone


  • A Fellow who is conflict-avoidant in their personal and professional life will go to Harvard Negotiation Institute's Summer Program to attend the Dealing with Difficult Conversations course with 45 high-level business leaders.

I learned about myself through a deep dive into what makes me tick, what causes me to trigger emotionally, and what it feels like to have an “identity quake” and work my way out of it. The experience forced me to relive and reexamine some of my toughest moments and apply these learned skills to those situations so that I could really begin to feel my way out of a triggered state. – Noe Kalipi, Cohort I