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3 Mgmt Tips From Undercover Security

In 2003, I had a very interesting job that I’ll never forget. I worked at a local Fry’s Electronics store as their undercover security officer. This unique position offered me some great early lessons in management that I’d like to share with you…

  1. Know Every Position – Part of the training I underwent to become an undercover security officer, was working every position in the store for a minimum of 2-weeks, until you can pass an associated training module. I worked every job from cashier to accounting to store manager. It gave me a great basic understanding of how everyone contributes to the store. I understood what the threats and opportunities were for each task. It made it much easier to track/catch internal theft, which was at least 60% of the theft occurring in-store. In my opinion, this should be a mandatory practice for many managerial positions. You grow a great new respect for every one of your co-workers and can better understand each aspect of what they’re going through and help them to be successful.
  2. Respect – Loss prevention officers and security personnel in general tend to have a negative reputation. Rightfully so, many tend to have abrasive personalities, or sometimes demonstrate power trips. Anytime I detained someone, I made sure to go out of my way to treat them with courtesy and respect. This was clearly dictated in Fry’s policy and I made certain to adhere to it. Respecting that policy paid off because one time I was going to an after-work associates party… little did I know it was a “getting out of jail” party for an associate who had a bad experience. He confronted me and asked if I was scared. I told him that I wasn’t and I was happy to see that he appeared to be turning his life around. To which he responded that I was the only person on the worst day of his life that treated him with dignity and respect and that I have nothing to worry about. In fact, he took me to the water cooler and personally got me a beverage to demonstrate his gratitude. It’s critical that anyone in any position should demonstrate consistent respect across the board for anyone who crosses their path. This especially holds true for management positions.
  3. Make Your Presence Known – The vast majority of loss prevention is thanks to the awareness created by theft deterrents. Everything from the cameras on the ceiling, security packaging, a guy checking a receipt at your door – it’s all the illusion that there’s more security than there really is. This psychologically forces a criminal to rethink the idea of stealing and instead perhaps choose a more opportunistic target, or not commit the act at all. That deterrent includes me (a plain clothed security officer) making my presence known. Simply saying “hi” to nearly every associate in the store was the best theft prevention we could ever have. The mere thought of potentially doing something criminal was drastically reduced by me just saying hello. Similarly, if a manager makes his presence known through routine and surprise check ups, it’s no wonder that the workload significantly increases. Absentee managers are the #1 reason of lack of production.

I think any good manager can look back at positions they’ve worked and attribute some of their best leadership qualities to them. No matter what position you’re working today, hopefully you’re learning something from it that will help you get your dream job. Would love to hear from you in the comments if you’ve had one job that especially made a memorable impact.

  • Do you think these 3 tips could help you become a better manager?

    Let me know what you think!