Universiteit Leiden

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Communication | Leadership

Skills Lab A good conversation: train your GROW-skills

What does it take to have a good conversation in the workplace? In this skills lab, you will learn the art of having conversations that go beyond assessing results; conversations that focus on the contribution, development and well-being of the individual within the team. We provide you with the tools for an ongoing dialogue, with room for forward-looking feedback.

Target group
Training course

Target group

This skills lab is indispensable for all university staff in a leading position who strive for a deep(er) and constructive dialogue with their team members.

The good conversation

During this interactive one-day skillslab you will receive a palette of conversation techniques that will help you as a leader to have a result-oriented, yet supportive conversation with your employee. This contributes to the conversations we strive for with GROW and offers tools to contribute to your own ambitions and those of the team, together with your team members, in a focused and pleasant way.

You will discover techniques to:

  • Effectively discuss a wide range of topics, from individual performance to team dynamics
  • Provide constructive feedback focused on future improvements and opportunities.
  • Promote active engagement, empathy and continuous professional development within your team.

Topics covered

  • Coaching on employee development.
  • Giving constructive feedback that the other person can really listen to.
  • Conducting difficult conversations.
  • Making clear agreements back and forth; making expectations explicit linked to the ambitions of your team and from clear criteria, which you have as a manager.
  • Starting a conversation in a clear way, giving structure to a conversation and consciously intervening where necessary.


This skills lab consists of an interactive training day, in which short theoretical instructions are alternated with practical exercises and peer consultations. We work with actors to simulate (difficult) conversations, giving you direct feedback on your conversational skills.


The training emphasizes leadership competencies such as: 

  • setting clear expectations
  • giving feedback and involving others
  • displaying interest
  • empathy
  • stimulating learning.

After the training you:

  • can have effective conversations on a broad spectrum of topics.
  • are able to reach clear and mutually supportive agreements.
  • have a deeper understanding of your own communication styles and their impact on others.
  • have comprehensive interview techniques that increase your flexibility and effectiveness as a manager.

Are you curious about what exactly GROW is all about? On the staff website you will find more information about GROW and other tools to support you.

At Leiden University, we work towards creating a healthy, committed, and learning community. A community in which we can actively work together and contribute to realising our ambitions, in open dialogue and with mutual respect. We do this because we care not only about what we do, but also about how we do it. 

This skills lab is a short training programme, focused primarily on acquiring and deepening communication and leadership skills, and as such forms part of Leiden University’s leadership development programme. 

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