4 Tips for Becomming a Great Leader in the Security Industry

10141810486_f1228801ba_oIt’s no secret that many security company owners have previous experience in military and/or law enforcement to bolster their credibility when discussing security solutions with clients.

However, even the most salty veteran doesn’t always translate into a great business leader. If you have the courage and drive to make the leap from good to great, here are a few tips that will help you lead the way not only for your security company, but also for the industry-at-large.

1. Your ego should be secondary to your service. If we’re willing to be honest for a moment, we all know that there are a lot of people in the security industry who are more interested in TELLING prospective clients about their litany of achievements rather than ASKING prospective clients about their needs…and that’s a bad thing. If you’ve ever found yourself spending more than one unsolicited minute talking about yourself during an initial meeting with a client, you’ve probably been guilty of letting your ego run away from you. Try this:
  • Practice compressing your bio into no more than 30 seconds and then practice transitioning from your obligatory intro to a more consultative role. For example, say something like, “I’m not here today to sell you on me, but rather on the services we can provide for you. With that, I’d like to get to know about you and the challenges you’re facing.” Focusing on client service and checking your ego at the door will automatically separate you from much of your competition.
2. Watch your words. You’re selling a service that involves the recruitment and deployment of people. There are a lot of moving parts, spots to fill, and posts to cover, so it is easy to get into the habit of treating and talking about your team members like they are assets you own. It’s scary how natural it can feel to say things like, “My guys are the best in the business” or “The guys below me handle the administrative stuff.” Break the cycle and practice using more inclusive language with your clients and colleagues. Try this:
  • Talk about the “team” to help narrow the gap between your executive role and others’ perceived “grunt” roles in the company, and use terms like “we” when discussing your company’s mission and services with clients.
  • Stop using gender-specific generalizations like “guys” when referring to your team. It’s unprofessional and potentially offensive to female officers or support staff.

3. Innovate first. The security industry is notorious for being slow to adopt new tools and technologies. The reasons may be many, but cost-sensitivity is almost always at the top of the list. Even so, you must remember that protecting your officers and the public they serve when on-post is of the utmost importance. Furthermore, there tends to be a correlation between innovation and a company’s success/growth. Just looks at companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple for proof. Why can’t you bring that same spirit of innovation to the security industry and lead the charge? Try these steps:

  • Research existing or emerging non-lethal or less-than-lethal technologies and evaluate the cost per hour that it would take for you to deploy them on your officers.
  • Suggest alternatives to exclusively armed or unarmed contracts for your prospective clients using the information you acquired from the first point above. Consider how blended responses (i.e., armed plus a non-lethal option) might best serve them while also protecting your officers.
  • Note in your RFP responses how critical innovation is to mitigating a prospective client’s risk profile. Talk about how the innovation you’re offering ultimately benefits them and the perception of their brand.

4. Go hands-on. I’m not talking about force here. What I mean is be involved in every level of your organization to monitor quality and service. This doesn’t mean you should micro-manage or hound your teammates like some sort of ogre, but ask yourself the following questions and reflect on how well you’re really leading and inspiring your team:

  • When was the last time you put on a uniform and stood post with another officer under your care even for half a day?
  • When was the last time you sat with the person overseeing the company’s financials and asked how you could do better?
  • How much coaching have you given to the people answering the phones when clients call? Are they accurately representing your company’s brand and providing the level of service you expect?
  • How often do you “mystery shop” officers on your team to ensure they’re upholding a level of professionalism consistent with what you communicated to a client?

Some of these tips may seem like small changes in the way you do business, but small changes can make big differences and people will notice your uptick in professionalism and leadership when you apply them.

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