Security's Everyman

Security's Everyman

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Security Leadership

One of my favorite topics to read about is leadership. I like to think of myself as a leader and hope that what I do is looked on by others as leading. I try to apply the principles of leadership in all that I do. Whether or not my official position is a leadership position or not doesn't matter I still strive to be a leader.

In my opinion the security industry is in need of leadership. It is a industry that is widely varied in scope and objective. You have many different disciplines that often doesn't communicate with each other and often even openly criticizes or looks down on each other. If we are all fighting against a common enemy then why can't and don't we work together. Why should we each fight our own battles also fight each other?

Obviously leadership in an industry that is so varied and that is populated by people from all over the world, many of who aren't even "officially" in the industry, and many of who are rebels by nature is not an easy task. There won't be any one person who rises up and claims the title of "Security Leader of the World". What we need is for those of us in Security to step up to the plate and lead where we are.

Leadership isn't a position it's a life style. It's doing what you can, when you can, as you can. It doesn't require that you be the Team Leader, Manger, or VP. You can lead from where you are by simply doing what needs to be done. By being an example of how a security professional does his job we lead others. I'm not talking about all of the day to day tasks that we do so much as the way that we do what we do. It's the attitude that we have as we do our day to day duties. It's how we react when a situation arises that requires us to step up a notch from our daily responsibilities.

We need to remember that leading takes place where we are if we will remember some basic ideas. Leaders have the following characteristics and they use them in their everyday life both at work and elsewhere.
The following is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free monthly e-newsletter 'Leadership Wired' available at

  1. Adaptability – Quickly adjusts to change.

    Leaders in the middle may not be the first to know, but they are often the ones in charge of implementation. Adaptable managers in the middle are willing to embrace a change operationally even if they are not yet ready to do so emotionally.
  2. Discernment – Understands the real issues.

    Good leaders cut through the clutter to see the real issues. A smart person believes only half of what he hears, but a truly smart person knows which half to believe.
  3. Security – Finds identity in self, not position.

    Effective 360° leaders are secure enough in who they are to not worry about where they are. Instead of focusing on reaching a position, they focus on reaching their potential.
  4. Service – Gains fulfillment in serving everyone.

    A servant leader serves the mission and leads by serving those on mission with him or her. The true measure of leaders is not the number of people who serve them but the number of people they serve.
  5. Resourcefulness – Finds creative ways to make things happen.

    Creativity is the joy of not knowing it all. We seldom, if ever, have all the answers, but we always have the imagination to create solutions to our problems.
  6. Maturity – Puts the team before self. Nobody who possesses an unrelenting me-first attitude is able to develop much influence with others. A mature leader sees beyond his or her personal vantage point and has the courage to make sacrifices which advance the team.
  7. Communication – Links to all levels of the organization. We often think of communication in organizations as being primarily top-down. Leaders at the top cast vision, set direction, reward progress, etc. However, good communication is a 360-degree proposition. In fact, oftentimes the most critical communication comes from leaders identifying problems or solutions at the ground level and sending them up the chain of command.
We are fighting a never ending battle that requires all of us to lead from where we are. So each of us needs to take steps to improve our leadership skills and become the best leader that we can be. Don't wait for a position of leadership make your current position a leadership position.

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