Dear Reader

Conflict: Do you experience fight or flight? As I mentioned in January’s edition I am involved in a two week exhibition at the end of March on the topic of Building Peace Without Violence. Therefore I’ve been thinking about how we react in conflict situations – do we go into fight or flight mode, do we know how to handle conflict in a constructive manner? Given that my Managing Challenging Interactions workshops are so popular it does seem that most of us experience either a fight or flight response in conflict situations. So this month’s edition is about helping you to identify different ways of responding to conflict. For more information about the exhibition and the free events running during the two weeks, see right hand column or visit

For those of you who want to explore this topic in more detail I am running another Managing Challenging Interactions workshop on Thursday 22nd February near Oxford. And for those of you with staff or who are thinking of employing staff you might be interested in the Coaching & Performance Management workshop being run in conjunction with Oxford Brookes University on Tuesday 13th February. Click here to be sent more information. I also offer 1:1 coaching support for people and find that many managers and team members find it useful to receive individual support in thinking through how they tackle conflict.

Best wishes

Melanie Greene

Conflict: Do you experience fight or flight?

  • Fight, flight or freeze – Most of us during our lives experience some kind of conflicts within our families, at work, with friends or neighbours, or during our dealings with the multitude of institutions that we come into contact with eg: banks, children’s schools, builders. I’ve listened to so many clients, friends and family members as they vent their frustrations with a variety of situations. Some of them are moved to take action (fight), others are paralysed, not knowing what action to take (freeze), while others moan and groan, but are for whatever reason not willing to take action and ultimately want to avoid conflict (flight).

Do you fight, flee or freeze in conflict situations?

  • I’m right, you’re wrong – many conflicts are about ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ with nobody giving any ground. If you value the relationship then you might want to consider going for a win-win outcome. This is not necessarily about compromise, but about both parties feeling listened to and coming away satisfied with the process as much as with the outcome.

Think of a situation that you are facing how can you create a ‘win-win’ outcome?

  • The wisdom of mentors – Nowadays ‘non-violent conflict resolution’ is a much talked about topic, but it has actually been around for many centuries. The Creating Peace Without Violence exhibition in March is based on the lives of three men who have taken action to stand up for peace and end conflict without resorting to violence. They are Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jnr and Daisaku Ikeda.

For me when I am facing situations involving a conflict that I want to run away from, the wisdom and inspiration from these men and other people helps me to take action to handle these situations more effectively.

How do you respond to conflict? What inspires you to take action?

Gandhi: ‘Be the change that you want to see’

  • Fight’ in an assertive manner – If we let our ‘fight’ response take over we can go into a situation with all guns blazing, usually resulting in the other person only hearing the anger and not the content. Being able to turn the anger and frustration into a positive force for change is what Gandhi, King and Ikeda have done to ‘fight’ for peace in a constructive way. We can also do this in our own lives. By managing our emotions and taking an assertive versus aggressive stance in conflict situations.

  • Respect – One of the common themes from the lives of Gandhi, King & Ikeda is about respect for themselves and for others. In conflicts we can either let others trample on us (lack of respect for self) or end up lording it over others (lack of respect for them). Mutual respect is about stepping out of the situation, seeing the person behind the behaviour, appealing to that person, being clear about what you want and need and letting go of the past.

Martin Luther King: ‘I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal’

  • You change and the situation changes – Whenever I find myself in a conflict situation I have to remind myself to stop pointing the finger at the other person, expecting them to change. I know from experience that when I change my attitude and stance then I can bring about a change in the relationship and the situation. This can involve some soul searching and being honest with myself. Once I’ve changed how I think and feel, changing my behaviour towards the other person is a lot easier.

Daisaku Ikeda: ‘A great revolution of character in just a single individual will help to achieve a change in the destiny of a nation, and, further, will cause a change in the destiny of humankind.’

Want more Inspiration? If you want any support in dealing with conflict we can offer 1:1 support, consultancy advice and group workshops to assist you in doing this. Just call 01865 377334 or email to arrange a time to speak in confidence. For more information about Grovelands visit our website:

Feel free to pass this issue of ‘Inspire’ onto others – if you have been forwarded this issue and would like to receive your own copy each month, click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Gandhi, King, Ikeda Exhibition: Building Peace Without Violence

21st – 31st March

Oxford Town Hall

There are a number of free events running along side the free exhibition:

Tuesday 20th March

Launch with the Mayor of Oxford and invited guests

Wednesday 21st March

Lecture by Dr Marcus Baybrooke, President of the World Congress of Faiths and member of the International Peace Council

Thursday 22nd March

'Interfaith Public Panel Discussion: How can religions create peace?'

Saturday 24th March

Cultural evening

Monday 26th March

Afternoon (for 6th form students) & evening – Lecture by Claire Bertschinger, Women of the year 2005 & author of ‘Moving Mountains’ about her work in natural disasters and conflicts around the world, particularly her role in inspiring Live Aid.

Tuesday 27th March

Lecture by Dorothy Dark “Peace is Possible”

Thursday 29th March

Two plays put on by 6th form students from Gosford Hill School on themes related to the exhibition.

Friday 30th March

Second cultural evening

To book free tickets or find out more click here.




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  • in-house and public workshops

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