While conflict on-set can be challenging for anyone, women Executive Producers may face unique obstacles in managing it effectively.
In an industry that has historically been male-dominated, women may face additional scrutiny or pushback when trying to assert themselves as leaders and address conflicts assertively.
Additionally, women may be more likely to face bias or discrimination, which can exacerbate conflicts and make it harder to find resolution.
Women EPs may also face challenges in building relationships with crew members who may be used to working with men in leadership positions.
All of these factors can make it more difficult for women Executive Producers to navigate conflicts and build a positive on-set culture.
However, with the right strategies and support, women EPs can overcome these challenges and lead their teams to success.
Who's in the Hot Seat?
Lisa, Executive Producer for Film Productions
Lisa finds managing conflict the most exasperating part of her role. Conflict happens all around her...disagreements with directors, tension with crew members, or disputes with actors. Lisa came to coaching wanting to learn how to deal with on-set conflicts while navigating being assertive as a woman leader.
Expert Tips for Navigating Conflict On-Set
One of the biggest challenges women Executive Producers face is managing conflict while navigating the gender biases that still exist in the industry. Lisa, like many women in leadership positions was worried that she could be viewed as "difficult" or "bossy" when she asserted herself. As a result, she felt pressured to avoid conflict or take a more passive approach to managing it.
Lisa discovered that avoiding conflict was not a sustainable solution, nor was it an effective leadership strategy. She knew that conflict led to productivity loss, decreased morale, and a toxic work environment.
During coaching she focused on these effective strategies:
Address conflicts head-on: When a conflict arises, Lisa addresses it as soon as possible. She doesn't wait for it to escalate, and doesn't assume it will resolve itself. Lisa schedules meetings with the parties involved to discuss the issue and focuses on coming up with a solution.
Practice active listening: During conflict, Lisa listens to all sides of the story. She tries to understand everyone's perspective and identify the underlying issues that are contributing to the conflict. Lisa learned to listen and acknowledge the other person's perspective which helped de-escalate situations and build trust.
Be assertive, not aggressive: When Lisa finally addressed conflict, she found that she over-indexed on directness. In coaching, Lisa focused on understanding the fine line between being assertive and being aggressive. She learned that assertiveness is about stating her needs and boundaries clearly, while being respectful of others. Lisa practiced verbal and nonverbal language that demonstrated being assertive, open, and engaged.
Reframing the value of conflict: Lisa believed that conflict was distracting and a waste of time. Coaching helped her change this mindset. She shifted to seeing conflict as an opportunity for clarification, alignment, and a way to build strong and trusting relationships.
Lisa ended coaching feeling empowered and confident. She believed in her ability to manage on-set conflicts and came across as the leader she wanted to be.