Defusing an unspoken conflict

That which is latent is not yet clearly manifested. Applied to conflict, the term evokes the idea of a time bomb! The conflict is certainly there but hasn't burst forth yet. How to intervene, if possible, to restrain the explosion or the blockage?
Evaluate the risks
As long as the conflict is not overt, the signs of its existence may be subtle. And it is tempting to ignore them ("it will pass!").
Intervening is thus more a matter of personal decision than it is an urgent necessity:
□ What faint signals tell me today that we are in conflict?
□ What are the observable consequences?
□ What may risk happening if I do nothing? And if I intervene?...
Questions which will allow us, should we decide to act, to prepare and to refine our approach.       
Imperative: recognize your share of the responsibility
The other is not the only one responsible for the conflict:
□ What is my share of the responsibility, in the current situation?
□ How to formulate it so that he takes it as an authentic step toward him?
The premise: by taking this step, I bring the other into a movement of coming together.
Without it, the key ingredient for defusing the tensions is missing.       
Be ready to hear reproaches
Latent conflict means that the other has not expressed his feelings toward me. And that is exactly what needs to "come out" in order for a dialogue to take place.
Promoting reconciliation therefore implies:
□ inviting the other to elaborate on his feelings
□ above all not to justify yourself (justification = defense, listening ended)
□ asking questions in "exploration" mode, without judgement, to understand fully his viewpoint.
Once things have been said and heard, the co-worker will be ready to listen to you in turn. It will become possible to offer your perception of the situation and to propose a vision of the future.       
Each question has only one correct response, but be careful: among the possible responses there is one that is "almost correct" and might make the choice harder!
1 / 3   A relocation taken badly?
For the last few weeks Delphine seems unhappy, and you think that this is linked to the recent relocation: her presence is not like it used to be in the open space. What do you do?

You try to lighten the atmosphere:“Delphine, have you left your good humour in one of the boxes?”
This is not a good idea, you aggravate the situation!
You don’t do anything in particular; you think people need to adapt.
Optimistic and risky! Leaving things as they are will only lead to Delphine showing her vexation even more.
You start a conversation: “How are things with you at the moment?”
Why not? But there’s a risk Delphine will reply in a very evasive way.
You engage in a dialogue: we’ve been set up here for the past 3 weeks, how do you find the new environment?
This question is direct and precise which will bring Délphine to tell you how she feels.
2 / 3   Above and beyond the bad remarks...
Leon has been digging at you for the past few days and you decide to have a word with him about it. What do you say to him?
I’ve been getting remarks from you for the past few days. I’d like to know why.
This is a little abrupt. Reformulating could be useful.
I’m alarmed by these remarks directed towards me lately, it’s unusual for you. You have probably got something you want to say to me...
You show him that you are willing to listen to him and this will create good conditions for dialogue.
What have I done to make you so aggressive?
You’re attacking him, and he will counter-attack.
I’ve a feeling you’ve got something against me. I’m sorry if I’ve said or done anything to hurt your feelings.
It’s a bit too early to present your excuses; you don’t even know what the problem is, yet.
3 / 3   Easier to say things ?
Why doesn’t a colleague clearly explain what the problem is?
He’s not brave enough.
No, to be able to express yourself, you must above all believe in your capacity to make yourself heard.
The problem is not that important to him.
That doesn’t mean anything.
A problem can be important without knowing how to explain it properly.

He doesn’t know how to phrase things so as to be heard.
Yes. Perhaps he’s afraid of not been able to explain himself properly, that it will provoke conflict, and that he won’t be listened to, etc. Therefore you need to show that you are ready to listen to him.
Your score is
You finished!
To review the questions and responses, please choose from the list below.