When a situation is about to escalate, be ready to do two things.
First, be ready to have a difficult conversation face to face. You can’t send an email, you can’t text, you can’t use the chat. In certain circumstances, you may still be able to use the phone, but be prepared when possible to meet face to face (or camera to camera in today’s world).
Second, be ready to concede. You will not get out of it if you put your foot down, if you want to win it all, if you are not open to be proven, at least in part, wrong.
But before that, how do you know a situation is about to escalate?
You feel it. You understand something is not right when you feel you are getting agitated, when you sense that being right is becoming more important than the outcome, when any minor event gets charged of unrealistic importance. So much so that you have to tell somebody or do something right away.
You have the power to defuse such incredibly dangerous situation, do not get sucked into them.