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WCMSoar Session 1: Leading Difficult Conversations

Thursday, November 24th 2022
5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Virtual Program, ON

Leadership requires the ability to build consensus and execute timely action with others who may hold different perspectives. The management of tension, conflict, ambiguity, and radical difference between ourselves and others is one of the core skill sets of competent executives. Times of disruption, like the current COVID pandemic, require concerted action around a collaborative outcome and highlight the need to build the skills of establishing trust, conflict de-escalation, and conflict resolution.

This workshop will help participants map, understand, and, where applicable re-design how they communicate and relate to others in difficult interpersonal situations. Each person will get an opportunity to discover their own conversational pattern and have a chance to alter and practice their new behavioral blueprint.


  • Participants will learn about verbal and non-verbal elements of interpersonal trust;
  • Participants will learn how to ‘dissect’ a difficult conversation;
  • Participants will learn how not to succumb to fallacies common in inter-personal conflict;
  • Participants will learn how to de-escalate and discuss emotions and attributions
  • Participants will learn how to read and check non-verbal cues that may unconsciously escalate the inter-personal conflict.

This session is for participants of WCM Soar Program only.

Maja Djikic, Ph. D.


Maja Djikic, Ph. D. is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Self-Development Laboratory at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. She is a psychologist specializing in the field of personality development. Her work examines means of developing a congruent and flexible self. She has been a post-doctoral fellow with the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking at the Rotman School of Management, and Psychology Department at Harvard University. She has published more than 30 articles and book chapters in the area of personality development. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, Salon, Slate, The ScientificAmerican Mind, and many other media outlets. At Rotman she teaches executives in Advanced Health Leadership Program, UHN’s Academic Hospital Leadership Academy, EMBA for Health and Life Sciences, and the Sunnybrook Leadership Institute. In the non-health sector, her previous client engagements also include Facebook Inc., McKinsey & Co., Deloitte, Eli Lilly, CSL Behring, Sunlife Financial, RBC, TD, Aird & Berlis LLP, Hyundai Canada, & Microsoft Canada.

What is your reaction to the fact that the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women will be chaired by a man?