What kind of manager are you?

Ah, the majestic old days of management when we could rule with an iron fist. Don’t care about your employees just their productivity. Tell them what to do and where to go if they don’t like it, my way or the highway. If it made them upset, not our problem.

Unfortunately, back in my days with Wells Fargo, that’s what we were told to tell them. If I was asked a question by an officer as to why they didn’t get a raise or something was changed, my answer, coming from the corporate line, I was a good corporate minion, was just that. “If you don’t like it then leave, we’ll find someone to replace you at the minimum wage”.

It took me a while to see the light, but I began to change my management style. From one of being a bureaucratic corporate toadie to one that was liked and respected by my officers. And what did I do differently to change? I became an employee’s manager. With this change I didn’t exactly engender myself to the company because I was an employee’ advocate, which got me in trouble more than once.

I changed my style of management by doing only three things…listening, empathizing, and putting myself in their shoes. I listened to them and what their concerns were and attempted to do what would be best for them, the company, & the client. Sometimes it didn’t work out so well for 1, 2, or all 3, but I did try to strike that balance. I usually came away with 1, 2, or all 3 mad, or ecstatic at what I did.

The innumerable incidents of workplace violence are plagued with stories of people who weren’t listened to or taken seriously with their grievances, real or perceived. They then subsequently brought a weapon to the office, or used something already there, and injured someone, thousands since the 80s. A good example…

At General Dynamics in the early 90s an employee returned from a leave of absence after burying his 6-year-old son who had died of leukemia. It was obvious that his work performance was suffering because of his grief. A meeting was held to discuss terminating him. The next meeting was to be where he was actually terminated but instead he terminated the HR manager and the union rep. Unfortunately, there are innumerable news stories like this, maybe not fatal but a company being insensitive to employees needs.

It is imperative as managers that we, sometimes, be the hardass of the company. We are tasked with enforcing the rules, regulations, policies, and procedures that may not be very popular with the employees. Some will resist and others will simmer slowly until the boiling point is reached, if ever.

But it is just as imperative that we listen & make accommodations, if possible, for them. And with our own employees, it’s even more important to listen and care about what they are saying and doing right or wrong. They are after all part of the extended family of the company and therefore needed to accomplish your mission of manufacturing your product or delivering your services.

An employee, who may be having difficulties showing up on time or not being properly groomed, could be indicative of a problem. This is not saying that we need to solve their problems for them, but we do need to be a sounding board and show that you are interested in both their welfare as well as the security of the company/client. And the only way to do this is to take the time to learn who they are as well as the problem. It may not solve the underlying issues, but it may prevent some bad results by not listening.

Other times it may be a blatant attempt at just plain insubordination for whatever reason or they are trying to play you for a fool. Which means that you have to come down hard on them and deny them whatever is against the rules in a harsh tone? And in the case of an officer write them up and counsel, or a harsher penalty, them. And make no apologies for it, sometimes it’s necessary.

I’ve had to discipline & terminate my officers in the office and on-site. But for the sake of the company and/or client it had to be done. And I would rather have done it than by someone else which didn’t engender me to my now ex-friends.

The lesson for all of this is that you have to be willing to take the time to listen and care about your employees. It may also be necessary to defend those employees if they are accused unfairly, simply to get rid of them, which can be another trigger for a violent incident and happens far too often…even now.

What is your management style? Are you one who will listen and care for your officers? Or are you so tied into the bureaucratic corporate mentality that you can’t bend for anyone or anything? Being too far on either side isn’t good for anyone. You have to strike a balance, somehow, between being a*****e and an employee’s manager, and not compromise either side or your integrity.

It is not an easy task to accomplish to become an employee’s manager. But it can be done without getting fired or raising the ire of upper management, maybe. The question then becomes…can you do it?

“To be a successful leader you must Engage, Empower, and Encourage”

Marc Koehler

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his upcoming website robertdsollars.com or twitter@robertsollars2.

(Watch for my new book…not on customer service but on preventing violence in our schools due in May)

                                                        I May be Blind, but my Vision is Crystal Clear

School Shootings & Threats Rule February

Starting with the horrific shooting in Parkland Florida on the 14th, Valentine’s /’day no less, a rash of threats and shootings have occurred at the nations schools. According to both ABC Radio and my local FOX TV affiliate, more than 200 threats of shootings have been reported in the 14 days since that shooting. Obviously I have not heard of all the threats, like last year with the Jewish Community Center threats.

However, the ones I have listed below are the ones that I have heard about on both national and local news casts. This is by nomeans an all inclusive list, since I know I’ve missed any number of them while sleeping or being out and about. The number of incidents has been increased by 200, the approx.. umber of threats n schools, although again not officially named.

Los Angeles, CA. February 1 (school) 5w

Las Vegas, NV. February 1             1w

Mesa, AZ. February 2                                      1d

Tempe, AZ. February 4                                   1d

Corpus Christi, TX. February 4     4w

Richardson, TX. February 7                           2d

Phoenix, AZ. February 7                                 1d

Boulder, CO. February 8 (school) 1w

Flagstaff, AZ. February 8 (school)              0

Phoenix, AZ. February 13                              1d

Ft. Meade, MD. February 14        3w

Everitt, WA. February 14               0

Parkland, FL. February 14 (school) 21w   17d

Phoenix, AZ. February 14 (school)   1w

Kirbyville, TX. February 15 (school)           0

Rochester, NY. February 16(school)          0

Seattle, WA. February 16 (school)             0

Phoenix, AZ. February 16 (school)             0

Atlanta, GA. February 18                               0

Scottsdale, AZ. February 18                          1d

San Antonio, TX. February 18       3w

Kirbyville, TX. February 19 (school)           0

Jackson TWSP, OH. February 20 (school) 1d

Phoenix, AZ. February 22 (school)             0

Los Angeles, CA. February 22 (school)     0

Prescott Valley, AZ. February 21 (school) 0

Tempe, AZ. February 23 (school)               0

Winchester, MA. February 24                      2w

Phoenix, AZ. February 25                              2w          1d

Yuma, AZ. February 27 (school)                  0

Dalton, GA. February 28 (school)               1w

(School violence threats have been added in to the number of 200 as reported by ABC Radio/FOX 10)

February:231 incidents  26 dead 42 wounded

Year-to-Date: 257 Arizona: 19

44 Dead      66 Wounded

Do you have guards or officers?–Part 1

I don’t like the term guard because it demeans what we actually do. Yes we guard the lives and property of the company and client, but the term guard is a verb not a noun. If we call them officers, that puts them in a more professional light and hopefully they will live up to the new designation of a professional.

The question that many people have is “what the hell is the difference?” The difference lies in the perception of a lazy good for nothing rent-a-cop and a professional observer and protector. That is what we truly are, except in rare circumstances. Meaning that an officer has to go above the narrow definition that the municipality or state mandates.

It starts with management. They must refrain from using the term guard, unless it’s being used in a derogatory manner because of poor performance. Many security companies still call their officer’s guards as do their clients. They have been doing it for so long it is a habit and it’s a hard one to break. The level of training, pay, or ability doesn’t matter. They are all guards and nothing more. And not many people think of it differently because they have been conditioned to think that way. So the first thing is to change the perception of them.

The company and client can change, but you have to change the perception of the employees. And how can you do that, when the employees think that the officers are more of a hindrance than a help. Eventually the employees will follow management, to a certain extent in calling them officers. The officers must prove that they are worthy of the respect that calling them officers involves.

Next in the line of change are the officers themselves. The biggest question you will face is “How the hell do I do that?” The simple answer is…you can’t. It is up to them. You can certainly put into place disciplinary measures and a code of conduct but over and above that…it is their mindset. You can ask and order, but unless they are in the mind set to do it, then they won’t. To those guards, it’s all a bunch of hooey, and they don’t want to do anything more.

What do you have to ask and order them to do to become officers not guards? Again it is all up to them to want to change and be an officer not a guard. Hopefully, the following tips will help you answer that question for yourself;

  • Education

I don’t mean they have to have a Bachelor’s degree or any college education. Even if the individual is only a high school gaduat, they can be an excellent security officer. The key is to start learning and never stop, no matter what it is; security, local/national/World events, or computers. It all helps them to learn and establish their skills.

I consistently surprise people when I tell them I’ve never been to college. Many people ask me how I’ve become so educated in security, not to mention my specialty of workplace violence. I started learning and never stopped and that is the key. How did do that?

Before going blind I was used to reading as many as 4 – 5 newspapers a day. Additionally, I read magazines all the time as well. That’s where I self-educated myself. I read whatever and whenever I could, even industry specific magazines from clients.

I have managed security officers that were conscientious and dedicated to completing their assigned job in a professional manner, but they jes weren’t edumacated or looked thoroughly professional. On the other hand, I’ve also had ‘guards’ that had college degrees and could me to shame mentally, but they were guards.

The key is to let your officers know what’s going on within the company & industry. And it doesn’t matter what the industry is. If you are in a plastics plant, do you read any manufacturing or plastics magazines? Those are just as important. If you’re contracted, you have to know your client’s business and how it works in order to be effective and efficient.

Most companies will put you through an initial orientation training class to give you the basics, hopefully. It will be different from company to company, but remember this is generalized training. If you work proprietarily and the training is adequate, pay extra attention in orientation, because this is where you’ll first learn about being a professional officer. 

lastly, just because you’ve completed however many hours of training videos or OJT it’s not even close to being enough for  training you. Nothing can compare to the advantages of actually working the post and being trained on it, on-the-job training (OJT), and the black & white cleanliness of formal classroom training.

The 2nd part of this post will be next week.

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his Facebook page, facebook.com/oneistooomany, or twitter@robertsollars2.

                      I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Are Millennials responsible for increasingly bad customer service?

A new study by Jive communications states that millennials could be responsible for increasingly bad customer service. While the study doesn’t say that so succinctly, it does state a number of facts that create an atmosphere of customer no service:

Patiently waiting on-line/phone for longer periods

Never complaining about receiving poor service

Continuing to visit the stores they know have bad service

Never seemingly getting upset when they have to wait or receive poor service

These areas are the vital aspect of providing unparalleled customer service, but millennials refuse to complain about customer no service. I don’t know why nor do I really care if it is their upbringing or anything else, this isn’t a psychology article. We should not expect, or accept poor customer service, period.

As a baby boomer, I have been raised to have respect for people. I still address people as sir and ma’am, even if they are younger than I am. I call them by their first name, if they give it. I tell their supervisors when I receive quality customer service and I definitely inform the company when I receive poor or non-existent service.

This attitude of millennials simply accepting poor customer service is intolerable. Eventually, the cartoons of years past will come true i.e. the skeleton sitting at a keyboard with cobwebs on them when the IT person shows up and asks “Been waiting long?” That is just one example that has in some ways come true, waiting on-line/hold, for sometimes hours, for computer assistance.

It is already at that point and will only get worse if we can’t change these attitudes. I am hoping that my forthcoming book will address that and reverse that trend. We shouldn’t expect poor service as a matter of course. We can’t be expected to be waiting in line for an interminable period of time to either get a question answered or purchase an item, even in the express line.

Poor service will happen no matter what, at some point while we are out shopping or having fun. But it shouldn’t become the norm, that is one way communism and socialism failed… long lines and no service from the state. Every business has its hiccups in service…to think otherwise is as bad as expecting poor service.

Do you like being abused in any fashion? Either an abused toadie by the boss, significant other, governmental agency, financial companies, criminals, or literally anyone who will take advantage, read abuse, of us? By accepting poor customer service, we are allowing, and telling, the business, no matter what it is, that we “like it, we love it and we want some more of it “.

As consumers, we want to be abused as customers by the business and we like it. We are paying for the privilege of having them keeping us waiting, not answering our questions, running us in circles, denying that it is their fault, and maybe transferring us to someone else where it starts all over again.

As I state in my book, most people will go to a business where they receive the best customer service. That is even if they have to spend a few pennies more, overall, for the items they wish to purchase. Those businesses are the ones that have phenomenal growth in their revenues. It is proven that some businesses are so big no matter what they will succeed i.e. Wal-Mart, Amazon, General Motors, & many others (remember the bailouts of 2008?). But can your business, with you as an employee, manager, or owner survive with poor service?

I would surmise that we would not. Do you push the boundaries of what you can do legally to satisfy the customer? Do you allow your employees to do that, as long as they don’t give away the store? Does your business have a long wait for a customer to receive a refund on a large purchase, having to go through numerous layers of management to do so? They are many ways that you, employee, manager, or business owner can do to satisfy the customer by breaking the rules. You can, in many fashions provide unparalleled service in doing just this. As long as you don’t do anything that is illegal, unethical, or immoral why shouldn’t you do what you can for the customer and as a customer yourself?

Millennials would have a hard time working for me, and their reputation as lazy and do-nothings seems to be well earned in this respect, as I have always had a high commitment to customer service, yes even in security. I did what I could do within the boundaries of being a peon and being spit on by management, figuratively, for doing it. We can’t accept poor customer service if we want to grow our businesses, even as an employee we can grow the business by doing these things.

Read my book, when it comes out, and you’ll see that it is fairly simple to do these things. I expect it to be published in April or May and will post the announcement here.

Unconventional Customer Service: How-to Break the Rules in Providing Unparalleled Service

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his upcoming new website www.robertdsollars.com or twitter@robertsollars2.

                                      I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Security Operations Manuals for the Post-Part 3

This is the last post in this series. I hope, by the time you finish reading this one, I have given you enough so that you can have your security operations manual for your security posts. Again, I will reiterate this point. A Security Operations Manual on post will help you and your officers offer more professionalism to your client and company.

This section of creating your manual may be a little surprising to you. It is not something you would normally think of as being necessary, relevant, or integral to its creation. But trust me on this… it is nearly as important as the information inside.

Appearance:

This section should be in the back of your mind at all times when creating the manual. It really should be started as soon as you begin to create it. The appearance of your manual has more to do with the finished product as the ease of readability is when it is finished.

That answer is simple to explain in one word…anticipation. By developing an anticipation and expectation of the manual, it will help to create buzz and excitement before it is unveiled. With all advertising programs for anything in this world, from the latest car models to the new mobile phones and television shows, anticipation builds excitement.

Is it theatrical and over the top in the presentation of simple ‘post orders’? Of course it is, but in the world we live in don’t we have to do that in many respects to gain attention and have the officers and clients believe it is well worth the wait? If it helps the security team to become involved in its planning, organization, and assessment then it is well worth the theatrics.

This approach also helps in another way than just building anticipation…it helps to provide buy in from the officers.

So, what do you need to help create this anticipation and expectation of the manual? Keep in mind that your original will not be the complete version but a good mockup will do for the time being. The first thing you need is a 3 ring binder; the size depends on the site, with a clear cover insert on the front and back.

What do you put on your front and back cover? A logo and company name of both the contractor and client. Bright colorful graphics should be apparent. On the back…maybe a stock photo of the client site. The title of it should be centered and overlaying it in a large 18 or 20 pt. font.

Security Operations Manual

For

Large or small Client

At the bottom in much smaller font, possibly and 8;

Written By: Robert D. Sollars, Account Manager, Praetorian Security Services

Approved: January 15, 2018

Adding the date shows how long it has been since overhauled and if it needs to be again.

Additionally, section dividers with neatly printed tabs should also be included. This allows for easy access to know and learn what to do at the easy flip of a page. Adorning these section dividers with some imagery is also a nice touch, whether stock photos/illustrations or customized from the officers and site.

I have written hundreds of these and it didn’t matter whether they were grammatically correct or not on my posts. The only exception was with my large notable clients with many billable hours. Then the office took it and did their grammar editing, which I was never good at, ensuring it didn’t lose its simplicity.

The last question, which I addressed in the 2nd post and will again here, was how long should it be? That is an answer I can’t give you. Mainly because it really depends on your facility. I’ve written some for simple sites that were only 20 pages, including the 1st section of it. Others required as many or more than, 75 – 100 pages without the 1st section, because they were complex in their duties/responsibilities and had numerous small details that had to be included.

The presentation and appearance of your manual is just as important as it is with anything else. Look back at the new car designs, food networks, and nearly everything else for sale. If the presentation is good then it is more likely to be accepted as the best out there. Then if you allow the officers to help in the creation in some fashion then they will buy in to what it represents and increase the appearance of professionalism amongst everyone.

If your officers and clients believe that you are going out of your way for them to make their job easier and more of a return on their investment in you, then all that does is help. It should, if rolled out correctly and not immediately filled with revisions, increase the professionalism of the officers to you, the client, and employees.

It is unfortunate that today’s world we have to be dramatic, theatrical, and over-the-top to gain the attention, and keep it, of officers and clients. But as with many other things within the field, we have to change approaches to gaining and keeping officer engagement and this is one way to do that.

I hope these 3 posts have given you the information and impetus to form your own manual. As I always state they have been time tested and proven, even if they may be time consuming to put together.

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his upcoming website http://www.robertdsollars.com, or twitter@robertsollars2.

                              I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

An apology

I want to apologize for not posting for more than a week here. I have had a few computer issues and therefore was without it for more than a week. However, now I have it back and ready to go! Thank you for continuing to read these posts and Have A Safe Day!

Robert D. Sollars

Perception is Reality

What does that phrase I have used for more than a quarter century have in common with workplace violence (WPV) and its supposedly senseless violence? That is a question that is extremely easy to answer, and ignored by nearly everyone as an answer. Despite what they will or have argued in court, it makes complete and total sense to the shooters.

To normal everyday people it doesn’t. I have also seen psychologists, law enforcement, and security professionals profess that it makes no sense to them either. But it does make sense…to the shooter and a very few who can see why they may have done it.

That phrase above in the title is the reason why. Their perception of reality is why they do these things. Like in any WPV, school (SV), or domestic violence (DV) situation. The perpetrators have distorted their reality and begin thinking they were right in doing what they did. Whether that perception is logical or not, no one will know until the proverbial genie has been let out of the bottle by someone getting injured or killed.

If their perceptions are distorted because of mental illness, blinding rage, or addiction, it is nearly impossible to dissuade them of it, because that is their reality. Think about motivating liberals or conservatives to change their minds even confronted with facts? Not enough people, worldwide, think of these facts that were reality for millions;

The Jewish holocaust in WWII

The Crusader murders of Muslims during the ‘Holy Crusades’

The murder of thousands of Jews in the Dark ages because of inane excuses

The wife abuser who says “The b**** had it coming”

The man who shoots and kills his boss because “the son-a-b*** didn’t like me and kept me down”

Or the teenager who says “I was bullied and they wouldn’t stop”

 

Any of those sound familiar? I’m sure they do, because of media coverage of world leaders and others. They also sound familiar because we’ve heard it out of many perpetrators of WPV, SV, & DV. Not to mention those spouting their hate speech in the name of religion, race superiority, inequality, and other idiotic nonsense. And their reasoning for the violence? Their Perception is their Reality.

Please understand that all acts of violence makes perfect sense to the perpetrator. From the drug dealer who robs and kills another to the gang banger who kills an innocent 6-year-old little girl for no reason other than she was flotsam who was in their way. To normal people it makes no sense.

Who does understand this violence and its occurrence? Not law enforcement (as we seen in the Rockford WA. Shooting in September 2017 when the Spokane County Sheriff said that exact thing and in Parkland, FL. On February 14), the media (who do nothing but wring their hands and ignore the solutions…because it doesn’t sell and doesn’t fill their ideological temperament), and to the employees/customers/kids who were scared out of their wits and possibly be traumatized for months or years, and anyone who refuses to see the vulnerabilities in our security systems and their own sensibilities.

People who are mentally ill have an excuse for their perceptions being warped. For 99% of them, they know something is wrong and seek treatment. For perpetrators who commit these crimes of WPV, SV, or DV they have a truly warped view of the world and their perception of reality. The key is that to the perpetrators of these mass shootings it made perfect sense, and supposedly ‘just snapped’.

If you look at nearly every fatal incident of WPV over the past 30 years, the perpetrators had a perception of the world that wasn’t connected to our reality. But literally no one could dissuade them of their perception. Whether that perception is of persecution, stalking, racism, or bullying it was there, and in their mind it was perfectly acceptable to do what they did to stop the one perpetrating it on them.

So are incidents of WPV, SV, and DV senseless acts? To most of us perhaps. To the perpetrators it makes perfect sense to take other people with them when they went out. Did they have remorse after killing and wounding innumerable innocents? Most committed suicide, 66%, so we’ll never know. Those who survived, for the most part, they didn’t… “They deserved it”.

For it to be senseless then they literally have to mentally snap and that is as rare as a 3 dollar bill. Unfortunately, there are always warning signs that can be seen and possibly avoid a fatality. Will most people see them? Not a chance…they would rather go on with their perception of reality that the world is all ice cream cones and sunshine and ignore it…until it happens again. Then it becomes senseless and once more we delude ourselves with that phrase.

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his upcoming website www.robertdsollars.com or twitter@robertsollars2.

                                I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear