Make your Conflicts Productive!

Zilvold Coaching & Training productive conflicts
6 min read

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Let me tell you something: I don’t like conflicts. I never did. I grew up in a very harmonious environment and the conflicts I do remember were with friends at school or with my parents. As I got older, there were also conflicts in my personal and professional relationships. I used to feel really bad about conflicts, and I often wished they would go away as soon as possible. My way of dealing with conflicts was to ignore them, concentrate on the positive side of the situation, or give in to the opinion of the other person.

I still do not like conflicts, but I learn how to approach them differently. This article is about conflicts and how to deal with them more productively and effectively.

A conflict is a difference of opinion between me and someone else or a group of people. Strong emotions are often involved in conflicts. Sometimes, I feel bad, afraid of being rejected, want to walk away (hide), my heart starts to beat rapidly, or I get a headache. It drains my energy.

We all deal with conflicts, whether at home or at work. Conflicts are inevitable, but they can be productive.

Although conflicts might be something you want to avoid and find hard to deal with, they can help you solve problems. It’s important that everyone feels that he or she is being heard and that conflicts are resolved in a healthy way.

The first step is to take charge and address the conflict. You can’t hide from conflicts, although they are excellent issues to procrastinate. Chances are that they will then get bigger and bigger. But at one point, you must deal with the elephant in the room.

For all conflicts, I find it important to stay respectful and try to release the situation’s tension. The other person is uncomfortable about the conflict as well. So, refrain from using profanity and focus first on yourself by expressing your opinion, what you find important, how you feel about the situation, and how you would like to resolve it.

In dealing with conflicts, it’s about how you react. You cannot control how others react to a conflict. Over the years, I have learned to handle my conflicts, make myself clear, and stay calm. This means that it’s OK to be silent for a while during the conversation. You don’t have to talk all the time. Give yourself (and the other person) time to process what has been said.

In the paragraphs above I have described what my behavior was (and sometimes still is) and how I deal with conflicts. To make this clearer: I am enthusiastic, lively, and outgoing. My focus is more on the expression of feelings and on creating consensus. This is different from somebody direct, strong-willed, or reserved. They focus on logic or winning.

Everybody has their own way of dealing with conflicts. Within the DISC communication profile, we recognize four different profiles or styles: Dominant, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientious. I’ve described these profiles more in this article about DISC Communication.

If you know other people’s communication styles, you can better understand why they react in a certain way to conflicts. This enables you to be more effective and productive in dealing with conflicts.

Every communication style has productive tendencies and destructive tendencies. You can compare them with positive habits and negative habits. For me, a productive tendency is to be emphatic or to provide reassurance. A negative habit is that I can become too emotional (dramatic) or impulsive to solve a conflict rapidly.

You can get your DISC productive conflict profile to discover your own communication style and insights on how to react more effectively and productively to conflicts. An online assessment will create an excellent report you can work with for yourself or with your team. A sample DISC productive conflict profile report can be found here. It includes your own DISC style during a conflict, ways to deal with other communication styles when in conflict, and a reflection exercise on how you currently deal with conflicts and how this could be better.

The exerecise helps you become aware of how you behave in a conflict situation and recognize your automatic thoughts. For me, an automatic thought could be that I need to end this (difficult) conversation as soon as possible.

Next, the insights help you change your response and choose productive responses. For me, this would be taking time to address unresolved conflicts or to separate emotions from facts more often.

By becoming aware of my conflict profile, I feel that I am more in control of my emotions, that I have fewer fears of being rejected, and that I am more effective. Furthermore, I feel that others can rely more on me since I state my opinions and take responsibility.

Would you like this as well? Would you like to be in control of how you react to conflicts? And would you like to know how to deal with conflicts more productively? I can help you! Contact me and I will send you (or your team) an offer to receive your DISC productive conflict profile and to work with me to get more insights into how you can be even more productive and effective.

How do you deal with conflicts? Do you address them directly, or do you hope they will be over soon? Let me know in the comment box below. I and other readers of this article look forward to read from you!

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Have you seen an error in this article? Let me know! I am grateful!

Update: I wrote the original article on June 19, 2018, and it was updated on March 8, 2024.

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25 June 2018 11:43

Dear Freek,
Pleased to inform that this post is included in our latest episode of Productivity Articles roundup! Thank you for these perfect productivity tips.
Please find the entire article here:
Alexandra at TimeCamp