Managing Difficult Faculty & Staff: A Workshop for Leaders

This event has ended.

Managing Difficult Faculty & Staff: A Workshop for Leaders

This event has ended.

Grow your skillset in managing the difficult people who can make leadership so hard.


Join us for a workshop where you will learn how to intervene with and correct the most problematic performances and behaviors within your team. Within the workshop, you will be introduced to the “EM & EM” model, which includes four increasingly authoritative steps intended to engage, set expectations for behavioral change, communicate consequences for non-compliance, and minimize the ill effects of bad behaviors on others. We will also address the unique aspects of higher education culture that complicate employee oversight—including tenure, union contracts, and ill-defined leadership structures.   

This workshop will provide multiple opportunities for you to both apply this model to your unique context and practice these difficult conversations with other leaders experiencing similar challenges. You’ll be encouraged to bring your most difficult personnel scenarios to the group for practice and valuable feedback. Throughout the workshop, you’ll also develop an intervention plan specifically tailored to the challenging people you’re managing, and it will also document how the EM & EM model can help you to customize your approach to your toughest situations. You’ll walk away from this workshop feeling more comfortable, confident, and ready to take on your most difficult conversations.  

Who should attend?

This program is aimed at supervisors, managers, and leaders from all levels in higher education, including but not limited to associate directors, directors, department chairs, deans, associate deans, vice presidents, and associate vice presidents. Perhaps you are:

  • A department chair with an assistant professor trying to make tenure who’s fully focused on research and neglecting their teaching duties.
  • A dean facing a faculty member who disrupts meetings to vent about a policy which they encourage others to disregard.
  • A director or AVP with a longstanding team member who consistently undermines efforts to innovate or change.
  • A vice president with a direct report who is bullying others, although not necessarily violating policy.

No matter where you work on campus, if you’re looking for new strategies to help you gain confidence in communicating with your most challenging team members, this conference is for you.


DAY ONE: March 19, 2024
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET (local time, Baltimore, MD)
Registration and Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.



Opening Comments and Introductions
8:30 – 9:15 a.m.



Introduction to the EM & EM Model
9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
In this session, our speaker will introduce you to the model we will use for the rest of the workshop, focusing on engagement, management, enforcement, and then marginalization. You’ll have the chance to focus on a difficult person and how their behavior affects your team.



Morning Break
10:15 – 10:30 a.m.



10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
During this session, Jeanne will cover the first step of the model—engagement. In this step, you’ll practice how to: clearly articulate the problem, actively listen, acknowledge others’ perspectives, set standards and expectations for behavioral change, and schedule a follow-up and offer support.



Lunch (included in registration fee)
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.



Engagement (Continued)
1:00 – 1:30 p.m.
You will continue to practice using the engagement strategy with case studies and your own examples.



1:30 – 2:45 p.m.
When handled thoughtfully, many situations can be resolved at the engagement stage. However, when this proves ineffective, the next step is management. During this session, you’ll strategize how to rearticulate the problem with a stronger emphasis on expectations, building upon the methods employed during engagement.



Afternoon Break
2:45 – 3:00 p.m.



3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
If engagement and management fail to address performance or conduct, the final chance for behavior change is the third step: enforcement. Enforcement requires you to establish expectations and consequences for non-compliance. These are the thorniest aspects of the process and are all too easy to get wrong, so we will engage in plenty of practice. During this session, we’ll spend time discussing when and how to:

Involve Human Resources.

Develop a behavior modification plan.

Facilitate a formal meeting to address concerns.

Document the process.



Networking Reception (included in registration fee)
4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
This informal reception is your chance to decompress, have some refreshments on us, and expand your network of connections. Our programs are intentionally designed for smaller groups, so this is a great time to catch up with attendees and speakers whom you may not have connected with yet.



DAY TWO: March 20, 2024
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET (local time, Baltimore, MD)
Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.



Reflection and Questions
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
To start the second day, we will give you some time to reflect on what you have learned so far, and to bring up questions you would like answered in the remainder of the workshop.



Enforcement (Continued)
9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
You will continue to practice using the enforcement strategy with case studies and your own examples.



9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
In the event that circumstances make it impossible for you to take effective disciplinary action, or if that’s not the appropriate next step, your last resort is to minimize or remove the impact of the negative conduct in question on others. We’ll discuss when this is appropriate, along with strategies to support your community.



Morning Break
10:45 – 11:00 a.m.



Takeaways and Intervention Planning
11:00 – 11:45 a.m.
During our final session, you will have the opportunity to begin to craft an intervention plan for your difficult person, as well as to share takeaways that you will use after this conference.



Conference Wrap Up and Q&A
11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Save on In-Person Conference Registrations

Attend any three in-person conferences for $5,000 for Members ($5,500 for Non-Members) – or $1,667 dollars per registration for Members ($1,833 for Non-Members) – with a Conference 3-Pack. There’s no one way to use your 3-Pack!

  • Send 3 people to the same conference
  • Send 3 individuals to different conferences
  • Experience 3 different conferences yourself

Learn More



The Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore

550 Light Street

Baltimore, MD 21202

Room rate: $179/night

Room block cutoff date: February 28, 2023

Reserve your room here


Managing people is hard, and managing difficult people can seem impossible. This bootcamp provides a useful and relevant framework to doing the work that everyone would rather avoid doing.

– Maya Kucij, Assistant University Librarian, University of Central Missouri


Many of us who manage difficult people do not have a long term strategy for creating a better working environment with those individuals. “Managing Difficult People” offers a system for real and meaningful change in terms of how we interact with them and supervise them.

-Dr. Karen Rosenbecker Chairperson Department of Languages and Cultures Loyola University New Orleans


Even the strongest leaders come up against personnel challenges that stump them. We often avoid confrontation in hopes these challenges will just away. This conference provided me with tools to help in these circumstances in a way that is clear and respectful.

– Julie Nash, Vice Provost, University of Massachusetts Lowell


This is an exceptional program for both new and experienced leaders hoping to deal with difficult challenges. It provides an excellent and thoughtful toolkit to utilize to help manage challenging employees and does so in an engaging and motivating way. For anyone who could use help in managing their most difficult employees, this is the workshop to attend.

– Peter van Lidth de Jeude, Assistant Dean of Academic Services, Principia College


Few of us are taught how to be an effective leader and dealing with difficult personnel can be one of the hardest things a leader in the academy has to deal with in their lives. Every leader, new or seasoned, should be provided with a roadmap, like the one covered at this workshop. Jeanne Hay is an exceptional communicator, who has walked the walk.

– Donal Skinner, Dean, University of Texas at Dallas