Thursday, November 22, 2012

Women Security Managers - The Door is Wide Open

Over the years, I have seen many male security managers. I have also seen a slow but positive increase in female managers due to the changing face of the security industry.
I started in this industry when it was still ruled with an iron fist and fairly narrow viewpoints, which greatly inhibited women from taking any serious roles as supervisors or managers.
Women were looked down on as someone who could not get the job done and someone who could not be relied upon in the security field. Why? Because it is a relatively male dominated industry which fertilisers such theories so the gender door can remain tightly shut.
Years ago, when I worked for a security company we were one of the very few who promoted women security guards into positions of leadership. We did this because we believed that women have quite a different way of dealing with situations than most men.
I needed to try this so I could enhance and protect our contract which increasingly relied on PR skills and the need to interact with any one in the public arena.
I did not have any male security guards at that time whom I trusted to see both sides of a situation and who could use a calm approach in the first instance.
This paid off for my company greatly and not only impressed the client but also enabled us to expand and grow the business contracts because of this lateral way of conducting our business.
Clients, security employers, and managers are looking for that multitasking and lateral way of dealing with situations today, because we need to be much more aware of how situations can be dealt with effectively. This is because if an issue ends up in the hands of lawyers this can equal insurance liabilities = not good.
Therefore, the stakes are high.
I am confident that women can have a very good and rewarding career in today's security industry because it is always evolving and always seeking new and more efficient ways of getting the job done.
Unfortunately, women managers are still placed under a microscope to some degree; this is a boy's club mentality, which will still be around for a while yet.
Here are a few success tips for new women security supervisors/managers.
You need respect; you do not need to be liked.
o Men are looking for emotion when you make an important security decision, if you make a decision with the 'appearance' of lack of feeling or emotion you will gain respect faster.
o You need to be careful not to appear to close or chatty with any male members. This can open the door for presumptions of lack of professionalism.
o Never tell anyone you do not know what you are doing or that you are unsure. Males can sometimes get away with this - you will not.
o Instead, say that you will get back with that answer straight away because you always like to present the best answer and you do not compromise on quality - then get that answer ASAP!
o Practice being decisive every day; do not project any thing less - ever.
o Do not be late for work. This will be taken as a 'women thing' and it will work against you.

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