How to Effectively Deal with Conflicts

Zilvold Coaching & Training Blog conflict
7 min read

Summary: This article gives you techniques on how to effectively deal with conflicts. A result is that you can continue to work productively and that there is more harmony. You can also use the techniques to deal with conflicts within a team.

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You have a conflict with a colleague at the office. You do not agree on a particular project and there has already been a big fuss about the base principles. The project manager has spoken with both of you to come up with a solution or compromise. He did not succeed. The head of the department has also tried to resolve the conflict by putting you on different project teams. You therefore no longer have to work with that colleague, but the atmosphere is bad. You avoid the colleague at work and there’s talk about the both of in the office.

You would prefer that this conflict is no longer there so that you can focus on what you are good at. That you can go back to work with more pleasure where your colleagues appreciate you, listen to you and respect you. How can you effectively deal with conflicts so that you can continue to work productively?

With so many different people with their own beliefs, interests (and states of consciousness), we all deal with conflicts. Both professionally and at home. I can’t escape this either and I’m learning more and more about it every day.

Below, I give you a number of techniques on how you can deal with conflicts more effectively.

Take a step back

OK, you are angry and you want to be right. I can imagine that. In a conflict it often happens that there are emotions. An emotion is energy in motion. That is caused by something, for example a conflict. The art here is to stop your emotions. This is possible by taking a step back mentally (or physically!). Count to 10 and become aware of your breath.

This is also possible if the other person is emotional. By breathing deeply and consciously you come into the here and now and in this way you make it possible for yourself to see the situation from a different viewpoint and to wonder what actually happens and what you want.

During a discussion (that is the result of a conflict) you can always take a step back. If the emotions run too high and you don’t know what you want or what you have to say, you can stop the discussion. Then you both must agree when you will continue talking.

Find out what the other person wants

In fact, during a conflict or discussion it is not so much about the person (the identity) but about his or her ideas. Try to disconnect that by being curious and asking questions such as “What do you want?” And “Why?”.
Read this article for other good questions. Often someone already gets a label because he or she is from another department or office. Then we assume in advance that we know what he or she wants. Is that correct? Ask!


If you have asked your questions, let the other person respond. Listen to the voice of the other. When you listen to someone’s voice, you are really listening and not thinking about a reply. That makes it more human.

Summarize what you have heard and check if this is correct. In this way you show that you have listened and that you respect the ideas of the other. Then, if possible, you can ask follow-up questions in a respectful way. Is this not possible, because the other person continues to give more arguments for her or his idea, then keep on listening. More tips for better listening can be found here.

Find common ideas

We often think differently about certain ideas. To come out of a conflict effectively, it is important to find common ideas (common ground). Where do you agree with the other person? If we go back to the conflict at the beginning of this article, I can imagine that both you and your colleague would like to successfully complete the project. Try to find common values. Perhaps you both think it is important that all details are properly worked out and that the base principles are correct. You will find that it is more pleasant to discover common ground. The other feels seen, acknowledged and appreciated. There is more harmony. This will also improve the continuation of the discussion since there.

Bear in mind that you may be wrong

We often cling to our own ideas. To effectively come out of a conflict it is good to take into account the possibility that you may be wrong. I can imagine you would rather not do this because you may become vulnerable and insecure. It is difficult to let go of our own beliefs and ideas. We also call this our “pride” and on a professional level it is often not easy to be humble. Certainly not if you have a certain status or expertise. And yet, it is important to be open to the possibility that others can convince you. This is perhaps the most effective and productive way to deal with conflicts.

Conflicts in a team

If you know that a particular project can cause conflicts within a team, you can do the following: Have everyone anonymously write down ideas or solutions. In this way you separate the person from the idea and ideas from people are discussed who are not often heard (of). This can before the start of a project, but also if a conflict arises during a project.


Stop talking and start listening. Stop rejecting the ideas of others and start convincing them (read more about how you can convince others here). Stop shutting yourself down and be open to others. Connect with others and start a dialog.

DISC Conflict profiles

Everyone has their own way of dealing with conflicts. We recognize different profiles or styles within the DISC communication profile. If you are aware of the communication style of others, you can better understand why they respond to conflicts in a certain way. This allows you to be even more effective and productive in dealing with conflicts. You can read more about DISC communication and conflict profiles here.

How do you deal with conflicts? Let me know in the comment field below. I and the other readers of this article are looking forward to reading from you!

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

How to disagree productively and find common ground, Julia Dhar
Zo win je allebei in een discussie, Ben Tiggelaar

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