Conflict, Feedback, and Negotiation for Physician Leaders

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The content is excellent and there are frequent breakout sessions to practice the new frameworks and tools. I left feeling much more confident and competent in these skills. I know there will be many chances to continue practicing these approaches to disruptive behavior, negotiation, and decision-making structure outside the course.
  • —Karina Stone

Online Program Overview

The stakes are high in health care. The ability to negotiate and manage conflict is crucial to guiding your organization. As the health care landscape continues to change, the need for effective leadership and communication skills for managerial stakeholders continues to be pivotal.

This online program is designed to build on your leadership and management skills. This course will empower you with cutting-edge skills and confidence to tackle the challenging situations you face as a leader. These techniques can be used by any stakeholders; be you a physician leader, practicing physician, residency director, or nurse manager.

Harvard faculty will enhance your ability to think and act strategically, adopt innovative approaches, and face the most complex situations and conversations with greater confidence. By the end of the program, you will have built the confidence and developed the skills necessary to be more effective at managing conflict, having difficult conversations, and negotiating with others.

In this online program, you will increase your confidence in the critical management areas of:

  • Navigating conflict
  • Providing feedback
  • Skillfully approaching negotiations

Harvard faculty will use a combination of learning approaches such as teaching mini case studies, interactive classroom discussions, and helping you apply newly learned skills to real work situations.

By the end of the program, you will have built the confidence and developed the skills necessary to be more effective at managing conflict, having difficult conversations, and negotiating with others.

A Strong Foundation in Negotiation and Conflict Management

Negotiation is a means to get what you need from others, yet what everyone needs is important. The substantive issues being negotiated in health care often require a difficult decision between two equally good or bad alternatives – with the care of a patient in the mix. The need to effectively and quickly negotiate through informal, unarticulated channels makes strong relationships critical.

Nevertheless, negotiations often feel like a trade-off between the substance of the agreement and the relationship with the other party and hierarchy creates challenging power dynamics that hinder fair negotiation. This makes having strong negotiation skills one of the most powerful assets you can have in being an effective physician leader.

With leadership also comes conflict management. Leaders spend considerable time managing interpersonal conflict. Oftentimes, the most difficult issues are dealing with individuals who have a pattern of unprofessional behavior. While feedback interventions are important, if the individual knows that their behaviors will continue to be tolerated by the organization, then they will have little motivation to change.

Your organization – led by leaders like you – has a responsibility to hold everyone accountable for their behaviors. By promoting organizational accountability, leaders support a culture of trust and psychological safety, which ultimately enhances the quality of care given to patients.

One way to effectively manage conflict and ultimately build strong relationships as a physician leader is through frame-based feedback, which is founded on the concept that people’s actions are driven by their “frames,” or their point of view regarding the situation at hand. Without discussing a feedback receiver’s frames, changes to his or her learning and behavior is unlikely.

Learning Objectives

Within a learning environment that will facilitate career growth, this program will develop your expertise in the following critical areas:

Conflict Management:

  • Develop strategies for overcoming the barriers and challenges to conflict management
  • Apply the skills of using frame-based feedback to conflict management and relationship building
  • Identify the key components of organizational accountability for supporting a culture of trust and psychological safety


  • Explore the dynamics of influence in the context of health care leadership
  • Develop strategies for overcoming the most difficult challenges of negotiation
  • Apply the skill of interest-based negotiations to real situations
  • Develop effective methods for driving decisions

Credits and Logistics

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health designates this live activity for a maximum of 12 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation upon completion of the program.


Who Should Apply

This program is specifically designed for physician leaders. Clinicians with the following titles are strongly encouraged to apply:

  • Assistant VP
  • Assistant Medical Director
  • Chair
  • Chief Medical Officer
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Director
  • Division Chief
  • Executive Director
  • Executive Administrator
  • Medical Director
  • Non-Physician Dyad Partner
  • Nurse Manager
  • Program Director
  • Professor
  • Residency Director
  • Service Line Leader
  • VP
  • Vice Chair

Individuals interested in this program may also benefit from our online program Health Care Financial Management for Physician Leaders.