The Need for Effective Leadership in the Security Industry
Written by Eyal Ben-Shir
“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” – Peter Drucker
As we enter 2022, it is vital to take stock of the innumerable lessons we have had to learn during the tumultuous year of 2021. There has been a fair number of challenges, obstacles, and difficulties we have had to experience. Effective leadership is critical in determining the trajectory of success in these uncertain times. This blog post aims to elucidate what effective leadership is and what security professionals need to focus on going forward. Crime is constantly changing and the leaders in the security industry need to lead with empathy, strategy, and tenacity to combat these new threats.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
Leadership means different things to different people. However, multiple definitions of leadership focus on the process of inspiring people to work together to accomplish shared goals and to convert vision into something practical. In the security industry, security teams need to work together as a collective cohesive unit. Possessing integrity, courage, adept people skills, dignity, and adaptability are the essential tools in the leader’s toolbox.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the security industry has had to continually alter their strategies, budgets, and resources to deal with new threats. People have suffered increasing levels of stress due to new economic restrictions and hardships as a result. An effective leader needs to show concern and compassion for the wellbeing of their teams to mitigate this risk. Excessive levels of stress tend to impair performance and productivity. Research from an organizational psychological perspective has shown that stress-related illnesses is the leading cause for low productivity levels in the workplace (Dean, 2002). Immense pressure at work has led to stress, which made it the number one factor causing illness (Dean, 2002).
Moreover, effective leaders need to treat their teams with dignity and develop strategies to further reduce job stress during this precarious time we find ourselves in. Listening and observing well is paramount and great leaders can identify the important subtle verbal and non-verbal cues. There is a person behind each company number, and security leaders must inspire confidence in all their employees.
“Take the long way. Do the hard work, consistently and with generosity and transparency. And then you won’t waste time doing it over.” – Seth Godin
Transparency is the antidote to uncertainty and illuminates the way forward. Transparency in the security industry builds trust with clients and allows security leaders to participate in open communication with their staff. Without transparency and trust this can escalate into debilitating issues such as loss of reputation, crimes being committed and substandard work performance. Transparency allows for collaboration and simplifying complex issues into workable solutions. This will allow for an attitude of teamwork and aligning leadership with the staff on the ground. Without proper alignment, the staff cannot relate to leadership and vice versa.
Clearly defined goals, relevant metrics and the correct tools may allow for achievable and clarity regarding objectives overall. Recent research has indicated that performance appraisal when undertaken in the right manner can contribute significantly to employee motivation (Tuytens & Devos, 2012). Performance appraisals should be relevant to the specific job roles and need to analyse an employee’s performance from different angles. If there is more clarity, then the result will be a cheerful outlook and greater understanding. Research has indicated that positive attitudes may be a significant determinant of an employee’s level of motivation and work performance (Idowu, 2017).
Security Knowledge and Development
“Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” – Jim Rohn
The main goal in the security industry is to protect people, property, and client’s information. The successful security leaders do not forget the main mission and emphasize these fundamentals to their employees. Without a solid foundation then the security planning, strategy and execution cannot materialize. With crime changing so rapidly, it is vital for the security leader to be knowledgeable about these changing threats. Networking with fellow security professionals and being acutely aware of the industry trends is likely to give an added advantage.
Possessing attention to detail is a crucial ingredient to combating crime. Leaders in this industry need to be constantly educating themselves, attending security training and gain the relevant experience to gain a holistic understanding of the landscape of crime. By applying this in-depth knowledge rooted in the fundamentals, it will allow for the adaptation to these dynamic threats. Understanding emerging technologies and security improvements is a prerequisite to the health and growth of any security business.
Developing the current security team and investing in their ongoing training, development and evolution will allow for the promotion of key staff members to engage in higher levels of management and operations. This may improve work performance, trust, transparency, and other attributes mentioned earlier in this blog post. This will also pave the way for future security leaders in the up-and-coming generations to shine. It is up to the leaders today to teach, mentor and guide the next leaders to emerge.
To conclude, each attribute mentioned previously is vital to the sustainability of the security industry. All these points mentioned above are fundamental to making clients feel safe, secure, and heard. If you are interested in upgrading your security solutions or having one of our knowledgeable staff discuss a guarding solution with you, look no further than the leading contract guarding specialists in South Africa, Mantis Security. We can conduct a free risk assessment on your property, business, or establishment. Our related services also include employee vetting, background checks, domestic awareness training and state of the art screening.
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