Dear Reader

Why are some horses and people mean? You might be wondering why I am talking about horses in this edition of Inspire. It came about from an encounter I had recently. I was cycling and came across someone feeding two horses. Having grown up with horses I stopped to chat and asked her their names. She told me and then said, totally unprovoked by me: ‘That one is mean, she is mean to the other horse’. I remembered a number of horses in my childhood being labelled as ‘mean’, while others were seen as docile, friendly.

It got me thinking about both people and horses who get labelled; what made them into the animals they are now, and what is the impact of being labelled, both on the people doing the labelling and the individuals themselves. Hence this edition of Inspire.

Do you want a taster training session? – In the coming months I am speaking and running mini workshops at a number of events. These will enable you to get a taste of my style and approach before you decide to buy in my services or attend one of my public workshops. See the bottom of the right hand column for forthcoming events on Effective Teamwork, Presenting With Confidence and Mastering Your Inner Critic.

On Thursday 21st June I will be speaking at an exciting new event called ‘Driving Your Business’. If you want time to reflect and plan how to take your business forward or enhance how you run it then click here for details or call Dianne on 01635 578 500. It will cover getting your ideas off to a flying start, getting a head start on your competitors, effective teamwork and communicating your message.

Trouble in the office? We offer consultancy advice, as well as coaching and training on a range of issues that people encounter at work (see right hand column for some recent examples). So whether you are in a partnership, family run business or national organisation we have a wealth of experience of supporting people in tackling a range of work related issues.

Best wishes

Melanie Greene

Why are some horses and people mean?

What leads people to be mean, unhappy, cynical or positive, light hearted, enthusiastic? – nature vs nurture the great debate. No two siblings have the same upbringing, and they come into the world with different personalities. How we become the people we are today is very complex. What I find useful when I am faced with people who are less than positive or downright mean and moody is to:

  • Not take it personally, frequently it is about them rather than me – while still taking responsibility for my part of the equation

  • Step into their shoes, attempt to understand their map of the world

  • See the person behind the behaviour. When I do this I can usually start to connect with them and not get caught up with the ‘games’ being played

On the occasions when I hear about a person’s upbringing or their current circumstances, their behaviour often makes total sense. And having grown up around horses I know the same is true of them!!

Do you have someone in your life that you have difficulties connecting with? What can you do to step into their map of the world to better understand them?

‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.’ Ben Furman

Self-fulfilling prophecies – the trouble with labels is that they tend to become self fulfilling prophecies both in terms of how we see ourselves and how we see others.

Labelling others – What happens when we label others? Research has been carried out in education in terms of how teachers respond to children who are labelled bright or below average. They end up teaching to the standard of the label.

What do we do when we are told someone is bright, dull, aggressive, generous? Even before we meet them we can start to form impressions, beliefs that will affect how we interact with the individual, often creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, which we can then believe has proved the label correct. Rather than it was our perceptions and behaviour that might have triggered the behaviour.

If everyone treats an individual as if they are ‘mean’ and interprets every silence or comment from that perspective and responds accordingly, the person is likely to encounter a less than positive world. This is likely to make them pretty defensive and maybe mean, even if they were not that way in the first place!

When we run in-house programmes, especially team working events, the managers sometimes want to fill us in on the individuals who will attend. Which often comes down to a long list of labels. Our approach is to go in with a blank sheet, get to know people as we find them, allowing them to be their true selves.

‘If you treat an individual as he is, he will stay as he is, but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.’ Goethe.

Being labelled - I used to be known as Moody Melanie when I was growing up, perhaps an accurate description, as I was a pretty unhappy, under confident girl. However, I carried it onto adulthood and started to believe that was just me. Having done a lot of personal and professional development and having mastered my inner critic, I am now a very different person and the label certainly no longer fits and has been caste aside.

However, I’ve heard so many people who have hung onto and believe in these labels even if to others around them they are patently untrue. People who were told they were the ‘bright one’ or ‘the pretty one’, implying you were one or the other. Or that they were clumsy, not academic and so forth.

Are you carrying around any labels that are no longer, if ever, relevant for you? Are there labels that you use for certain individuals that are hindering your relationships with them? 

Want more Inspiration? If you want to break out of the labels that have been put on you or overcome your own stereotypes of people around you we can offer consultancy advice, 1:1 support, 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. 

Examples of recent issues that our clients have faced:

A manager who was working ridiculously long hours, realised that he needed to face the challenge of letting go and learn how to delegate effectively to team members.

A clash of personality types and working styles within a management team was creating undue and unnecessary stress within the organisation.

An administrative team within a school wanted to explore how they could communicate more effectively with each other and the rest of the teaching staff.

A women in the first year of running her own business needed to develop her confidence in herself and her services when selling to clients.

In-house training & consultancy:

We offer a range of management development, team working, communication and personal effectiveness workshops that are run within organisations. If you and your team have a specific need then contact us to discuss how we can be of assistance.

For more information or to book a place call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email

Driving Your Business

Thursday 21st June - Williams F1 Conference Centre, Oxfordshire. As part of this exciting one-day event I will be running a session on Effective Team Working. To find out more or to book your place click here, call 01635 578 500 or email

Presenting With Confidence

Thursday 5th July – at the Faringdon Enterprise Centre, Oxon. If you sometimes feel less that confident presenting yourself in meetings, with clients, while networking or during presentations you will learn some simple and easy to use techniques to boost your confidence and the impact of how you present yourself. This will run from 10am to 1pm.

Mastering Your Inner Critic, Releasing Your Inner Wisdom

Monday 9th July, 6.30 - 8.30pm. Oxfordshire Women’s Forum. A taster evening based on my forthcoming book (due out in Spring 2008).  

For more information or to book a place call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email


Grovelands provides:

  • Consultancy advice
  • 1:1 coaching and mentoring
  • in-house and public workshops

to individuals, partnerships, SMEs and national organisations.

See for more details.

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