In today’s volatile world, providing a secure environment is, of course, a top priority. The ability to employ and understand performance metrics, imaging technology and advanced security systems, is imperative if we are to provide a safe and secure world. However, in view of recent events that have rocked our country, it is also evident that providing a secure environment means trained, motivated, quality people – including supervision and management – must be available.
Without good people, teamwork, and respected supervisors and managers, technology is worthless.
Fade In… The soldier, dressed in the clothing of an ancient samurai warrior, rides his horse along a ridge and stops. He carefully surveys the scene ahead. After allowing himself a slight smile – a moment of clarity – he turns back to his troops and yells out a command. Without hesitation, the troops suddenly emerge – and move forward in a precise, coordinated formation. And although you know you’re watching a movie – maybe it’s “Throne of Blood” or, my favorite, “The Seven Samurai” – you’re impressed because those attacking troops are intent, disciplined and well-trained.
Throughout my life – whether I was in the Boy Scouts, the Navy, the Army or even private security – I’ve studied the fundamentals of leadership. And although each organization has developed well defined leadership principles, I’m often drawn towards the “The Way of The Warrior” – the Samurai Bushido Code. Maintaining an atmosphere of simplicity is what the samurai perhaps knew best when creating the Bushido Code. No matter whom you are, what you do for a living, or where you were educated, the Bushido Code is a set of guidelines that can easily be understood and applied by anyone to any aspect of life. Truly, “The Way of the Warrior” is a way of living; a way of reasoning; and most of all, a way of leading.
1.) The Right Decision. If you are a leader, at any level, you are constantly making decisions. And yet the ability to make the right decision, in a timely manner, isn’t always an easy task. First and foremost, I know I am expected to make decisions that ethically and morally correct. I rely on prudence, experience and conviction to make those choices. Second, it’s important that I make decisions that are technically and tactically accurate. To make good decisions, I throw away my ego. I review any information that is available – including policies, procedures and laws. I also freely consult other officers and employees. I open myself to any method possible to arrive at the best finding. And, once I’ve made a decision, knowing it’s the best and most informed choice, I stick to it.
2.) Wisdom. Training is at the very heart of wisdom. Train as an individual; train as a team. There is no doubt that training elevates both the individual and the team and creates a department that is both effective and efficient. Further, continued training creates a positive work environment where individuals feel secure and confident while performing their daily duties. When possible, I’ve found it productive to encourage every officer to be a trainer. That is, during shift briefings, individual officers are asked to give a simple 5-minute presentation on a security-related subject. Those lessons can be on any subject, including post policies or general security officer duties. By including all officers in the training program, there is an automatic buy in – which allows officers to achieve a shared sense of responsibility.
3.) Courage. It is vital that managers lead by example. To encourage and inspire those I manage, I set an example by staying informed, motivated and, most of all, by working hard. Further, I know it’s my responsibility to ensure that every task is understood, completed and documented. As I lead by example, it’s crucial that officers see that I groom well, wear a clean uniform, and show-up on time and ready to work. This may all seem fairly basic – but, from years and years of experience, I know that everything counts when you lead by example.
4.) Loyalty. Get to know your officers, as individuals, and promote their welfare. I am not shy about telling my supervisors about an officer and the good work he or she is doing. And, I’ll encourage my officers by helping them learn and grow towards the next step in rank and department opportunities. I invest in my officers, just as I expect my leaders to invest in me. By doing so – investing in the individual officer – I help create a work environment that is positive, productive and even enjoyable.
5.) Honesty. On one side, honesty is a simple matter – telling the truth. If you live by a code of conduct that includes honesty and truthfulness, at all times – in both your actions and your words – you’ll gain the continuing respect of your fellow employees. They expect nothing less, nor should you. On the other side, honesty is all about accountability. Whatever the task or duty might be, I make sure each task is identified and completed. Also, a big part of accountability is thorough and proper documentation. If there is a problem or deficiency with the task or duty, whether performed by myself or a team member, I take responsibility and make sure the task is resolved and completed.
6.) Respect. Again, this may seem like a simple concept, especially when working in a world steeped in advancing technology. Yet, based on experience, if you respect yourself and your fellow officer – both in speech and attitude – you’ll see an immediate rise in the morale of your team. I’ve also found that being respectful to those around me, and expecting the same in return, cuts down on politicking, back stabbing and, yes, even “rumor control.”
Although the samurai were fierce, legendary warriors, they were also a benevolent society that was known for being thoughtful, equitable and compassionate. Further, history tells us the samurai were frugal, self-disciplined and, most importantly, dedicated to a life of duty and honor. And, if you’re lucky enough to combine that level of duty and dedication with today’s advanced technology – you’ll have a first-class security program operated by a first-class security team.
The soldier rides his horse into the encampment. He is immediately surrounded by his men. A loud cheer goes up because they’ve been victorious in battle. The soldier, the leader, smiles and climbs down from his horse. He goes from warrior to warrior, greeting each man – by name –with warmth and sincerity. The leader knows the battle was won because his men were loyal, courageous, and that they fought as a devoted, unified team. Fade out…