This is Part 5 in our six part series on managing supervisors in the security industry. In case you missed the previous episodes, here are links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Those parts dealt with the issues of articulating your company’s vision and getting your team to put in to practice.
Now, we delve into something much more fundamental, how to manage the different personalities in a group of people that probably wouldn’t have much interaction if they didn’t work together. We go over some of the difficult personality types that can plague an office, and how to counteract their toxic influence
This is the supervisor that uses a post inspection as an excuse to talk about everyone else with their favorite guard. There are two types of gossips:
- Some just gossip as a diversion because they’re bored. This wastes time, but is not nearly as harmful as…
- Employees who are bitter and gossip as a way to tear down others. They can create a culture of distrust and anger that makes effective cooperation impossible.
The key to curbing a gossip is to lead by example. Don’t listen to gossip, and definitely never gossip about others yourself.
Blamers are supervisors that constantly have things going wrong on their watch but always find a way to pin it on someone else. The key to communicating effectively with a blamer is to shift the conversation away from blame and towards the facts of what happened. That’s why it’s so important to have clear processes and objective performance measures, so you can have a conversation that’s rooted in facts and not emotion.
The Drama Queen
Drama queens are very up and down, they tend to have powerful emotional reactions in both directions. When they’re up, they’re great, but when things go wrong they can be incredibly difficult to be around.
You don’t want to coddle your supervisors, but with drama queens you do need to be careful. When you do have to criticize them, don’t hold back, but also make sure it takes place in a safe and non-confrontational setting. Be generous when they deserve praise. If possible, put in them in roles that are highly planned out and don’t involve lots of unforeseen setbacks.
The Control Freak
This personality trait sometimes has a lot of pros. Control freaks are
- Hands on
- Attentive to detail
- Diligent workers
On the other hand, supervisors with this personality sometimes don’t understand their boundaries, they end up moving outside their job description and interfering with other’s work. The key is having very well defined boundaries with no ambiguity about their role.
As frustrating as it is to deal with a supervisor that’s openly confrontational, it can be more difficult when you have someone with a host of issues that won’t come right out and say what they’re thinking. These are the ones that complain about you to their coworkers, make subtle jabs at other people, and generally act like victims.
The key is to push conversations with this person out into the open. It might be uncomfortable, but if they have genuine frustrations or concerns, those need to be addressed. If passive-aggression is left to fester, it can turn into supervisors sabotaging each other and refusing to take any accountability for their own actions.
An open door policy is one preventative measure you can take to help all employees feel like they can have open conversations with you and not have to bury their complaints, but even then you’ll still have to deal with these non-confrontational people.
Some degree of paranoia can actually be an asset in the security industry, as it leads to situational awareness. You want people that are constantly on the lookout and investigating any problem. That being said, you have to encourage a balance and make sure your supervisors don’t go overboard.
Get To Know Your Team
In the end, managing these different personality types comes down to actually knowing and understanding your supervisors.
“Get to know your people, and you can solve a lot of these problems” I told Johnny on today’s episode. “You can figure out their personalities and then figure out where they work best at.”
Some owners don’t like working with personalities, they think they just need to establish processes and everyone will just go do their job. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Part of your role is to make sure everyone works well together, and that means doing the work to get to know your team, defuse potential issues, and put everyone in a place to succeed