During the average working day I sometimes find myself in situations where there seems to be some kind of mismatch in communication. This can range from the very trivial, leading nowhere which does not matter, all the way to the very critical, leading to a heated escalation of emotions. The core problem is not the disagreement but rather the misunderstanding about what one is actually discussing. Sometimes certain aspects of the problem are imagined, tones of voice implied and words and sentences incorrectly translated.
The first thing I try to do is understand what the other person does not understand and why there is this obstacle. The best way to approach this is to be open and honest. The deadliest killer of relationships is to assume that the other person understands you or keep on pretending that you understand what the other person is saying even though you sense that you have missed some vital point.
We are bizarre creatures who have the tendency to fight a win-or-lose battle when it is very likely and also to both sides' best advantage rather to seek out a win-win result. This win-win result is ironically enough easier to reach than having to fight it out. There are also much fewer cuts and bruises.
There was this guy named Carl Rogers who developed a theory called the "actualizing tendency." This theory focuses on a single guiding force where every life-form develops its potentials to the fullest extent possible. This same person also taught: "that which is most personal is most general."
What this means to me is that the more truly authentic you are and the more genuine and open in your expressions and gestures, the safer people feel and the more naturally they can express themselves near you. Especially those related to inner thoughts and personal experiences, even if it means exposing self-doubt. This so-called "actualizing tendency" extends outwards from your soul and even encompasses those near you, feeding the other person's spirit. Genuine creativity springs forth, stimulating efficient communication and eventually even producing new insights (ref. Stephen R. Covey, paraphrased by me).
So when conflict threatens to arise, this is more than likely due to poor communication which in turn has its roots in the inability to understand why and what the other person does not understand.
Sincerely try to understand the other side from your heart, balancing emotions with rational thought. This is a difficult yet noble path to follow. Put aside exaggerated emotions just enough so that they guide rather than drown you. Temper the overly rational ways of thinking with the stuff of emotions.
Open up and be genuine.