If you’ve been in the security industry for any length of time you’re probably familiar with some of the consequences associated with underperforming employees. Unfortunately, stereotypes of the security industry are reinforced when your clients discover low performing officers before your management team.
So you might be thinking, “What can I do to fix this?” Or you maybe you’ve already settled with the fact that this is just a part of your business that won’t ever go away.
I’d like to take a few minutes and share some of the trends and beliefs I’ve seen be successful while working with hundreds of security companies all over the world. I believe you’ll find some practical and successful ways to improve your guard force management skills and improve your security business.
Management can be hard sometimes but it's needed all the time.
To tackle the issue of improving guard management we have to recognize an important foundational truth about management. Management positions exist because employees and people need managing. That is to say that if management were easy, it wouldn’t exist. It takes time and effort to improve your management skills but little by little you’ll learn what tools fit your management style and personality.
Companies that dig in and really work on implementing systems to assist in guard management tend to be much more successful in the long run. successful companies realize that good management is a critical piece to unlocking growth and profitability.
Don’t avoid conflict. Embrace it.
I’ve heard it said before that conflict is the currency of management. If you avoid conflict, management likely isn’t the right job for you. The best managers aren’t “conflict avoiders,” but neither do they pull rank and roll right over others when conflicts occurs. Remember, your guards are people. Creating an environment in which they’re able to share concerns or obstacles they're facing will breed loyalty and higher retention rates. We'll go over conflict resolution in detail in a future article. You can also read more by reading this article by Mind Tools.
Perspective is everything.
Self-awareness is priceless when it comes to management. It is important to remember that your guards will have varying degrees of self-awareness, which can lead to conflict in the workplace. When addressing issues with your guards, try asking questions that put them in your position. For example, "how would you handle this disciplinary issue if you were in a management position?”
Self-awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Having self-awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.
Creating self-awareness in your guard force will not only help you as a manager but also help them and employees and human beings.
Measure Key Performance Indicators Objectively
When I work with a company that has key performance indicators (KPIs) in place, there tends to be a much higher standard of professionalism. Objective measurement is incredibly helpful when managing employee performance. After all, you don’t want to have a conversation like, “We have to let you go because we feel like you’re underperforming.” KPIs allow you to measure areas that directly impact your client’s perception of your company to ensure that you aren’t blindsided with a 30 day notice.
Why would you not want to have crystal-clear goals that you and your employees could refer to often to make sure they’re on track? It makes evaluating performance more concrete and less emotional. When a problematic employee isn’t achieving goals, you have something tangible to discuss. I’ll be diving more into key performance indicators in future articles as well.
They’re either for you or against you.
At the end of the day, is each individual an asset or a liability? If they are an asset, keep them. If they are a liability, let them go. Does a problematic employee still add real value to the organization? I once heard a business owner say “I have ran my business on the principle of hiring slow and firing fast. I can’t afford to employ a liability.”
This can be hard to implement at first but the long term benefits of maintaining high standards within your guard force far outweigh the headaches associated with high turnover.
There isn’t a magic wand out there that will get rid of the headaches involved in guard management, if there was, I would have found it by now. However, taking a few minutes each week to improve your management skills can greatly impact your business over time.
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