In previous articles I have discussed a wide range of soft skills that are sought by organizations during their hiring process. Companies use this information to assess the probability that an executive level candidate will be effective in a leadership role. While these competencies are critical, it is equally important to not overlook the need to also be an effective and skilled manager.
It is not unusual to see security departments staffed with a relatively small number of direct hire employees who need to be able to execute strategically, managerially and tactically/operationally – all during a single day. I have observed security professionals who ultimately fail because they operate by managing up. They view their strategic vision as a measure of success. Successful execution is a team effort, regardless of where you are positioned in an organization and how many resources you have at your disposal.
Leadership attributes relating to management are often divided into four areas: Thought, People, Results and Personal. Consider writing these down, then make a list of what skills you feel you bring to each of the areas. Think about successful outcomes that support your contention that you possess these skills. This exercise will help to prepare you for both resume development and interviews with hiring teams.
Following is a sample of the type of management competencies and practices you will be evaluated on as a candidate:
- Coaching – Provide help to others and make the development of employees an important objective. Express confidence in their ability to do the job.
- Effective Communications – Provide timely and concise information to others to help them to better do their jobs.
- Encouraging Teamwork – Manage your direct reports as a team, establishing common objectives with joint accountability among the team members.
- Establishing High Standards and Getting Results – Setting of challenging but attainable goals for themselves and their department and encourage subordinates to do the same.
- Effective Delegation – Understand the need to achieve the organization’s objectives through others and give subordinates room to act in accomplishing these objectives.
- Rewarding Performance – Give credit and recognition for successful performance.
- Developing and Releasing Employees – Managers who demonstrate this practice set a high priority on the needs of the organization and the development of each employee’s full potential. They seek opportunities to release valued subordinates.
- Building Consensus – Stimulate cooperation and collaboration between your own and other department team members to develop mutually agreeable solutions.
Management skills and competencies are a separate focus area from your technical and operational experience and expertise. Highlighting your successes as a result of your understanding of these will present a more well-rounded picture to a potential employer even more than an exclusive focus on tactical areas.