How to manage clashes in your creative team

Collaboration is a beautiful thing – but it can sometimes get messy. As an independent artist who is their own manager I’ve certainly been at the centre of certain clashes. The director wants to do one thing when the creative director is wanting to do something else, the stylist doesn’t have the shoes to match for the look. It all starts getting personal and as a manager, artist and/or client this gets super stressful.

As an independent artist, it’s your job to manage a whole team. Miscommunication and misunderstandings happen. Big personalities clash with other big personalities – or even smaller ones! Here is a guide to how to avoid issues. 

Plan in advance

It’s tempting to rush things. You need a shot to send to a distributor or client. But leaving room for breathing space and alterations is natural. Also, if you do have to work on limited time, don’t overcomplicate the idea. Stick to something simple and see how you can drill in the charm in a realistic and relatable way. 

Make a role sheet

Although not everyone sticks to it (lol) making a role sheet outlining everyone’s roles is a great way to communicate what you expect from everyone. A simple Google Doc should do. Simply write the person’s name, hyperlink their website or Insta and hyphen to what it is you expect from them. EG: Anne Johnson – Stylist, sourcing accessories and shoes. 

Go on a recce

Sometimes leaving it up to the day is risky business. Especially if you’re shooting in nature, it’s worth shooting a recce a few days in advance to map out details like specific location, lighting, narrative etc. 

Put your foot down

Being polite and firm is truly an art that’s hard to master. However sometimes a firm nature is needed to make decisions. As the artist, manager or client you are the deciding factor and so knowing when to apply a decisive attitude is primordial. 

Have someone else act as manager

If it’s too much for you to take on alone, get someone else to call the shots and translate your vision. This can even be a friend who is authoritative and has some form of expertise in your field; someone you trust essentially. Having someone else act as another firm hand can help calm any tensions that arrive. Learn from your mistakes

Not every shoot is a success. I recently cancelled a shoot literally 24hr before because so many people were clashing and rain was on the cards and I just knew it wouldn’t pan out at all. Sometimes cancellation is for the best. 

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