Element 1 – Develop Effective Team Relationships
To develop effective team relationships you will need to communicate as a team. The team may form in a variety of ways; most commonly a team is formed by management, and will evolve with its own particular structure and behaviours.
Working on building effective team relationships is important in the security industry.
A key reason for using teams is that, under many circumstances, they perform better than the same number of people operating as individuals. Teams eliminate waste, slash bureaucratic overheads, stimulate ideas for improvements and increase output per worker. Therefore, when management seeks faster, better ways to best match resources to the customer opportunity or competitive challenge, the critical building block will be at the team, not the individual.
Another reason for using teams is that people are comfortable with them and are confident operating in them. Most people, both at work and outside of work, belong to or are involved with various teams or small groups of people with something in common. Such teams or groups can be formal or informal. People being naturally comfortable with teams is not of itself a sufficient reason for using them to get things done. However, if a team’s purpose and outcomes match those of the main stakeholders, then a ready-made asset is waiting to be used.
Each member of your security team has a role to play, and these roles will be assigned and explained by your supervisor or team leader. This is the most common way in which most of us know what is expected of us. This information can be given to each officer individually by the supervisor, or be delivered as part of a security briefing at a particular venue.
Often, your role is set out in the standard operating procedures for a particular work site which you have been sent to for a particular duty or a relief shift. Whatever your role in the organisation, remember that the other members of the team are relying on you to help complete the assignment in an efficient, safe and successful way. If one person looks bad, the whole team looks bad. Good security guards don’t just know when to offer help, they also know when to ask for it.
There will be times when you are in a situation that you have not encountered before. In these circumstances you should seek assistance from other team members or approach your supervisor for guidance. At times you might want to avoid asking for help for fear of looking silly. Do not be tempted to do this. It is far better to ask a question than to make mistakes that will cost time and money. By asking questions you will not only learn, but will demonstrate to others that you always seek to get the job done right the first time.
When working as a team, always show a willingness to assist others when they need you. In doing so, you will build good working relationships. All members of the team must communicate with each other to effectively build the relationship of the team. Relationships and their effectiveness will make the difference between a group of people trying to work together and a really successful team.
A successful team will develop:
- A better understanding of itself and how the team impacts on others
- An understanding of how, at times, their behaviour can bring out the best and worst in others
- An appreciation of why there is no one right way to relate to others
- An understanding of how our motivational orientation impacts on our behaviour and team type
- An understanding of how and why conflicts emerge and how to reduce the potential for conflict
- An appreciation of what motivates different personality types to behave the way they do and how to use that knowledge to improve performance and understanding
- An understanding of which are their strengths and overplayed strengths
Strong team relationships are important and to develop them you will need to:
- Be sensitive to people’s feelings
- Be patient
- Admit that you do not have all the answers or even know all the questions
- Be willing to compromise
- Believe that everyone has something to offer
When you are in the process of developing an effective team relationship, it needs to be in accordance with organisational goals and objectives, they may include the following:
- Budgetary and business targets
- Client requirements
- Continuous improvement
- Professional development goals
- Reporting deadlines
- Team and individual learning goals
The input of all team members into planning, decision making and operational tasks of the team should be encouraged continually. By doing this it will help give the team members the feeling of ownership, which will build the strength of the team.
At some stage there may be conflict within the team, or with clients or members of the general public. The causes of conflict can be poor communication, beliefs, alcohol and drugs, a need for control, or social and cultural differences.
Conflict is inevitable in any organisation, when handled in the correct manner it can be a significant gain to you personally and the team’s strength. When handled poorly, it may lead to hurt feelings, damaged relationships and low morale. The best way to handle damaging conflict is, to prevent it wherever possible.
Methods for the team to use, to assist in the prevention of conflict, may be:
- Effective communication
- Keep all members of the team informed
- All members of the team need to be honest and open
- Avoid the use of threats, demands and put-downs
- Stay calm with each other
- Criticise team members with caution
- Don’t argue, just for the sake of it
- Be tolerant
- Confront an emerging conflict head-on
Everyone experiences conflict at some stage of their security career. It occurs whenever two people have different wants or goals and one party interferes with the other’s attempts to achieve this. Before dealing with conflict, you need to make sure that you understand what is happening, identifying the source of the conflict, and what the issues could be:
- Difference of facts
- Difference of goals
By understanding the source of conflict, you will be better equipped to choose the range of constructive responses. There can be five levels of the conflict process, they are:
The understanding of cultural diversity allows verbal and written communication to be used effectively. By being culturally aware and behaving with sensitivity, they are able to communicate openly in the workplace.
As mentioned previously, the communication with team members can assist in the success of a good team, remembering that all communication with team members and clients should be conducted in a courteous manner, which reflects sensitivity to individual social and cultural differences. Social and cultural differences can be expressed in a variety of ways, like:
- Beliefs, values or practices
- Conventions of gender or sexuality
- Cultural stereotypes
- Food or diet
- Religious and spiritual observances
- Social conventions
- Traditional practices and observations
Culturally aware communication, requires you to choose your words, voice intonation and expressions differ between cultures. There are variations in the approach to time, environment, comfort, personal feelings and motivations. The use of non-verbal communication and its interpretation can vary between cultures.
The levels of conflict may help with your understanding and level of perception. You need to recognise and discuss with all team members and referred relevant persons, any issues that may lead to or involve conflict. The relevant persons can be:
- Other colleagues
- Team leader
- Team members
- Technical specialists