Speaking-up, Listening up

Making it safer for everyone to have a voice

NHS organisations have taken for granted habits and implicit rules that influence how certain things do and don’t get talked about. Some people get heard more than others. Some people or groups are consciously, and more often unconsciously, excluded. This has an impact on decision-making, staff engagement and the quality of patient safety and care. Good ideas may never see the light of day. Harmful practices or behaviours may be overlooked.

Policies and speak-up processes are necessary but not sufficient on their own to change these cultural habits. Encouraging individuals to speak up only partially addresses the issues involved.

Based on major research study into ‘speaking truth to power’, which draws on insights from organisations across the world, including the NHS, this workshop addresses some of the realities of speaking up and listening up.

It introduces ways of working with dynamics of power and psychological safety, if cultural habits are to be changed. Participants will learn practical ways to make a difference to who gets heard – and what they as individuals can do to hear others and be heard.

Target Audience

This workshop is open to all levels of healthcare.

Places are very limited so please ensure you book your place as soon as possible.

Workshop details

This one-day workshop will explicitly consider the followings areas from the individual, inter-personal and systemic perspectives.

  • How we silence ourselves and are silenced
  • How we silence others (intentionally and unintentionally)
  • The individual and organisational consequences of silencing
  • What we can do to find our voice and encourage voice of others
  • How we can increase our impact and influence by using voice effectively

By the end of the workshop participants will have a much greater understanding of the barriers to the free flow of communication – and some tools and strategies for lowering the barriers and finding their voice.

Workshop dates

The one-day workshop will be run twice within the region, please book onto your preferred workshop below:

Workshop one (Taunton): Taunton Rugby Club, Thursday 11 July, 9.30 – 16.30

Workshop one (Newton Abbot): Newton Abbot Racecourse, Wednesday 18 Sept, 9.30 – 16.30

As a follow up to the one-day workshop, we are offering a part two workshop in December. In order to be eligible to attend part two, you must have registered and attended the first workshop based in either Taunton or Newton Abbot (detailed above).

Workshop two (Taunton): South West House, Taunton TA1 2PX, Monday 2 Dec, 9.30 – 16.30


Ben Fuchs is a senior consultant with The Kings Fund and guest faculty with the London Leadership Academy. He has been a practicing psychologist for over 25 years, developing leaders, teams and organisations. He works with leadership and organisational development across the health sector – with STP’s, acute trusts, commissioners, community and local authority services. He has also worked in international development, leading conflict resolution projects in Nicaragua and Northern Ireland.

John Higgins is a researcher, author and coach who has worked for many years with the faculty and students of the Ashridge Doctorate and Masters in Organisational Change. For the last 4 to 5 years he has been immersed in a major study into the practice of ‘speaking truth to power’, summarised in a July 2016 paper (co-authored with Dr Megan Reitz) ‘Being silenced and silencing others; Developing the capacity to speak truth to power’. They are currently writing ‘Speak up! Say what needs to be said. Hear what needs to be heard’ due for publication in 2019.

Kira Emslie is voice and presentation coach with Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Working with physical presence, breath and voice, she teaches techniques used by professional stage performers to help leaders overcome their barriers, nerves and fears about speaking or presenting in front of others. This helps leaders to increase their personal confidence and their ability to effectively get their message across and to influence others. She also works with the London Leadership Academy’s Women Leadership Network.

Applications for this programme have closed. To express an interest in future cohorts of this workshop please click here.



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Contact us

NHS South West Leadership Academy
South West House
Blackbrook Park Avenue
Somerset TA1 2PX

Telephone: 01454 252719

Email: leadership.SW@leadershipacademy.nhs.uk



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