Managing: Building Positive Attitudes

By Skurecki, Michael H. | Security Management, July 1994 | Go to article overview

Managing: Building Positive Attitudes

Skurecki, Michael H., Security Management

All businesses must be prepared to provide sound security programs managed by dedicated individuals. Although many facilities use a variety of tools to improve security, even the most comprehensive programs will not be effective without the positive attitude of employees.

Before discussing the specific elements that should be incorporated, a full understanding of attitude is necessary. An attitude is often formulated through messages transmitted by others. For example, co-workers can greatly influence an employee's attitude toward a security program. Pairing a certain stimulus with a positive or negative event can also shape attitudes. A particular point of view may be endorsed in pan because of the source of the message rather than the message itself.

The steps to accomplishing an attitude change are basically a strategy to alter an employee's opinion. Managers must target workers' attention and deliver a persuasive appeal. The appeal must be understood as it was intended to be delivered and managers should follow up with employees to ensure that the correct message was received. The next step is determining that the individual believes the message. For true change, a permanent attitude shift is needed rather than a transitory one. The most conclusive test is found in the long-term alteration of behavior caused by the attitude change.

Training and education. Before a company develops its security training and education program, a needs assessment must be conducted. Methods for performing the assessment include: written surveys, results of formal inspections, and interviews with employees and management.

Once an assessment has been completed and a need to change attitudes established, security awareness programs such as briefings, lectures, seminars, and workshops can be implemented. During the training and educating process, employees must know exactly what is expected of them. After each session, a follow-up evaluation should be performed to verify that a change of opinion took place. In addition, the proposed changes must be understood and accepted by management.

Incorporating values. The second approach that can be used to support a change in attitudes, and ultimately behavior, is emphasis on general values. These values include quality service, honesty, respect, unity, and a commitment to excellence.

By providing quality service, credibility will be established at all levels and will influence change. To support the quality service they provide to others, security staff members must always be available, exhibit strong interpersonal skills, be responsive to all requests, and provide immediate feedback to employees providing suggestions.

All attempts to change the attitude of employees must reflect management's commitment to the new approach. Security should have a set of known objectives as it attempts to reshape employee attitudes. In addition, the following rules of conduct must be practiced:

* Respect each person

* Share responsibility

* Use constructive criticism

* Keep an open mind

* Question and participate

* Listen attentively

* Focus on collective goals

The team tool. Teamwork or unity among employees is a must in every company. The team should work together in open communications with the goal of enhancing the worth of the security program.

The security staff as a team member in the overall company is responsible for the preventive maintenance and quality service of the security program by holding the team together. This can be done by promoting trust among other staff members. The security program should be administered so that it is in conformity with all management standards.

The employees are the bloodline of the security department and are responsible for supporting each of their individual tasks. With continuous attitude support, attention to detail, and acceptance of change, they are the key to a successful program. …

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