The security industry is tough. At the best of times, you’re dealing with thin margins and high turnover. During the rough patches, you might have to deal with constant calls from customers, competitors trying to undercut you, and rapidly shifting procedures in order to keep up with new technology.
At these moments, it can feel like the entire company is going to crumble. What keeps it together is strong leadership from the owner and other higher ups. Good leaders can inspire their employees, solve problems, and position their team to succeed.
On today’s Five-Minute Friday, we take a quick look at what it means to be an effective leader in the security industry.
First and foremost, a good leader knows how to stay calm in the midst of adversity. We highlighted “Reacting Emotionally” as the top mistake security operators make when dealing with customers, but that really applies to all areas of the business. Good leaders stay in control of their emotion and can make cool, rational decisions when others start to panic.
“There’s going to be a trickle down effect,” said Johnny. “As an operations manager or a supervisor, if you lose your cool, all hell’s going to break loose.”
When the owner and managers start losing their cool, three things can happen.
- Officers start to lose their cool as well
- Officers lose respect for the higher ups
- Officers become afraid of the angry outbursts that come from their bosses
All of those scenarios can be disastrous for a company. The first results in careless mistakes, the second results in insubordination, and the third leads to a lack of communication and officers failing to bring pressing issues to the attention of their supervisors.
Actions speak louder than words, but words can be pretty loud on their own, especially if you’re shouting them. Losing your cool and yelling at officers, other managers, or customers can only result in bad things happening.
Another point we’ve advocated in the past, transparency and open communication with your officers is a key aspect of effective leadership. A big part of being transparent means taking criticism and understanding when your officers come to you with issues.
Everyone makes mistakes. You need to accept that and stay calm when it happens with your employees, but you also need to be prepared to accept responsibility when it’s you that messes up. If you’ve made a strategic error or just had a minor slip up in running the day-to-day operations, publicly accepting responsibility and fixing the problem will do a lot to earn respect.
“Be willing to use yourself as an example of what not to do,” said Johnny.
In addition, transparency gives you the opportunity to explain your decisions and share your vision for the company. The difference between a dictator and a leader is that one commands, while the other persuades. Convincing officers that your decisions are right will be a lot more effective in the long run than just expecting them to follow policies they don’t agree with.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
By definition, a good leader needs to be proactive, pushing the company forward rather than just responding to issues as they arrive. This requires some strategic foresight, it means paying attention to developing trends in the industry and looking for ways to get out ahead of them so that you’re the one going after your competitors’ contracts and not the other way around.
Being able to weather disasters is great, and every business will have to go through them, but the best leaders are able to steer their companies away from those disasters ahead of time. A business that is constantly lurching from crisis to crisis will never be able to institute a long-term strategy for growth.
We’ve found in our personal experience that the most successful Silvertrac customers are the ones that are proactive. They adopt the software when things are already going well so that they can continue to improve and optimize their operations.
On the other hand, when customers are forced into adopting guard management software because their clients demand it or in order to keep up with a competitor, the onboarding process is much more rough.
A good leader has to be calm and communicative in a crisis, but a great leader has the foresight to see the crisis coming and take the steps to avoid it.