Discovering Leadership: The Challenge of Belonging

Conference overview

‘If a new result is to have any value, it must unite elements long since known, but till then scattered and seemingly foreign to each other, and suddenly introduce order where the appearance of disorder reigned.’

Wilfred Bion

What is the role of disruption in organisational life? And when disruption is marked, and change is everywhere, how can we maintain a sense of belonging? As leaders, how do we adapt and foster a sense of belonging in ourselves, as well as in the people we work alongside?

GRC September

Disruptive forces, such as digital technologies and divergent points of view, are emergent and ubiquitous. Within organisations, they may be welcomed as a source of knowledge and opportunity, or they may be regarded with suspicion – as threatening and destructive – or they may be tolerated with an air of helpless resignation. Whether we regard this sort of complex disturbance as helpful or destructive or simply unavoidable, it can lead to feelings of dislocation and disorientation.

This conference invites members to consider the question of belonging in the face of disruption. We may welcome the opportunity to work from home, to communicate with diverse and geographically remote groups of people, to engage via sophisticated digital platforms, but how do we retain a sense of belonging relative to role, task, team, or organisation?

Similarly, we might welcome encounters with diversity (including our own) in principle, while simultaneously opposing the changes they bring – on the surface, we desire that change, in other ways, we resist it. People who are designated to hold or represent difference within systems, can be subject to an ‘assimilation agenda’, requiring them to blend in or risk holding marginal positions such as the ‘the angry one’, ‘the mad one’ or the ‘difficult one’. How do systems respond to difference without deadening it? How can systems be changed by difference so that responsibility for belonging is held broadly, rather than something individuals are forced to struggle with?

And how do we uphold the principle of dialogue without throwing our weight behind the backlash against post-colonial voices - that is, the pushing back to the margins under the pretext of defending free speech?

This group relations conference, Discovering Leadership: The Challenge of Belonging, will give members an opportunity to explore these themes and others within the setting of a temporary organisation, co-created by its membership and staff.

This conference will take place in person at the Tavistock Clinic, following COVID regulations.

This conference will include a training group for people who want to deepen their experience of Group Relations Conference work and/or move towards being considered for staff roles. The training group is open to people with previous membership (or staffing) experience, and combines membership and staff tasks and roles.

It has its own additional schedule and events, which will allow participants to explore the complexities and dynamics of Group Relations work from a unique perspective.

If you would like to join, in addition to completing the Conference Application Form, you will need to send a personal statement (no more than 500 words) for consideration by the Conference Director, detailing your motivations and relevant experience. Please send the statement directly to:

Conference Director                           Nicola Godwin

Associate Conference Director       Kay Trainor

The Tavistock Centre, London
5 September 2022 09:00 to 8 September 2022 19:00

Download your application form

Application form GRC September