Essential Soft Skills All Security Officers Need

It’s safe to say Black Friday will look completely different for retailers this year. With social distancing measures and ongoing concerns over COVID-19, we are unlikely to see those overcrowding scenes we’re used to at this time of year. But even with a quieter high street, security teams have never been more essential in protecting people and property.


Security professionals are needed on the frontline now more than ever; managing crowd control, enforcing social distancing, monitoring mask-wearing and protecting empty retail units.


The perception of security guards is changing. They’ve become more than just a deterrent for, and potential eye witness of a crime, they’re now health and wellbeing champions, empathetically utilising softer skills to support the public as they navigate a global pandemic.


As a manned guarding service provider, specialising in retail security, door supervision, and front of house, we have seen an obvious shift across the high footfall, retail locations we protect. In this environment, our teams are interacting directly with the general public, and working alongside our clients to ensure that our presence serves to reassure and comfort customers.


Whilst hard-skills and behaviours associated with a role in security are critical, it is also essential that cognitive thinking and emotional intelligence is accessed in order to be truly effective.


Here are 8 soft skills security guards should embrace;
  1. Empathy - To initiate positive interactions and communication amongst the public it’s essential to understand and sympathise with another person, gaining a deeper appreciation of what they are experiencing.
  2. Compassion - In response to empathy one must be able to treat individuals with compassion. Whether they're a witness, victim, or suspect compassion helps build rapport in what could be a dangerous and/or traumatic situation.
  3. Nonverbal Communication - This covers any cues sent through tone, facial expressions and gestures. It’s important to recognise what signals nonverbal communication sends in order to mitigate conflict and ease tension.
  4. Active Listening - A key element of conflict resolution is dealing with people who want to be heard. Active listening means correctly interpreting others in a conversation and helping your audience feel appreciated and understood.
  5. Adaptability - A day in the life of a security officer is far from predictable. Flexibility, agility and adaptability are required in our everchanging social and technological world. To provide good service officers need to anticipate, adapt, and overcome challenges.
  6. Critical-thinking - In order to make a decision, officers must be able to evaluate and analyse facts, take in all of the information, think critically to solve the problem and resolve conflicts quickly and efficiently.
  7. Observation - Being able to visually, mentally and emotionally gauge a situation quickly is essential in the security industry. For an officer to be effective they must pay attention; continuously monitoring and being aware of their surroundings.
  8. Conflict Resolution - Unfortunately, conflict is a huge part of working in the security sector. The nature of the industry inevitably invites a degree of conflict. It is therefore important to have the skills to resolve any conflict peacefully and professionally.