How well do you deal with authority?

Security Guard 1

How well do you deal with authority?

This week we will be presenting 4 questions to ask yourself…

It’s often one of the questions that managers will throw in at the end of an interview, “How well do you deal with authority?” According to Job Skills, the good news is, most supervisors believe that some amount of questioning of authority is natural, intelligent and progressive – it’s only when a candidate says something along the lines of, “In my last job, my boss made a financial decision that I knew would be abysmal, so I went directly to his superior who agreed that I was right so my boss had to alter his plan,” that alarm bells may start to ring.

Is it a “bad” idea to question authority, or is it a good corporate tactic?

Some questioning of authority is good, so how do you know when to draw the line? How well do you deal with authority in the first place?

In just about every job, unless you are a sole trader, there is normally a “pecking order” – someone is higher than someone else, or one team is responsible for the actions and direction of another person or group of people. The higher up the chain of command you go, the more authority you should have. Bear in mind that in almost any job, even the top boss is answerable to someone, even if it’s the board or the company shareholders.

How well do you deal with authority?

At some point in our lives (if not every single day!) we all have to deal with authority. How well do you cope? Here are 4 important questions to ask yourself to help you “unpack” your relationship to authority.

Question1: What am I seeking to gain from this relationship?

With every relationship that’s meaningful in life, we have lots to gain and plenty to lose. Relationships are always about “give and take” – it’s when one party is doing all the taking that connections become strained.

Think about the benefits of dealing with a particular authority figure in your life. The more mature we get, the more we realise that “bucking the system” unnecessarily will only cause us more pain – such as arguing with a policeman who is about to give you a ticket.

Speaking Up blog posted an article called, Dealing with people in authority – effective meeting skills. The post suggests, “If you find it hard to get a word in and put your point across, as everybody is talking on top of you (believe me I have been there!) watch body language, so that you can tell when somebody finishes a sentence. They have to pause at one time, and you have to come in then.”

Learn respectful tactics for dealing with people, watch your words and body language and ask yourself what you may gain (or lose) if the relationship with a particular authority figure goes on or off track. Weigh up the positives and negatives.

Question 2: How has this working connection changed over time?

Business blogger Bryce Johannes from Quora seems to have a combative experience with authority – something that many of us carry on from childhood or early teens. He says, “The world is ruled by and for the elite. They have unique opportunities on a scale completely out of line with their reward for work.”

Johannes is not alone - many people feel this way. Some of us think that allowing an authority figure to “rule over us” can be disruptive to the way we see ourselves as an employee. Johannes says, “Authority becomes part of the boot keeping you down, transferring the benefits of your hard work to others whose sense of entitlement creates an enormous imbalance.”

If your working relationship with an authority figure has changed over time, examine the reasons why and don’t put up with behaviour that will not serve you in the long run. Having said that, make sure you consider your options carefully and aim to rise above any petty issues when you can. Work makes up only a portion of having a happy, fulfilling life.

Question 3: What am I contributing to this scenario or situation?

It takes two to tango in every working scenario. When dealing with an authority figure, think about how your attitude, words and actions are contributing.

Tanvi Gautam is the Managing Partner of an HR consulting and training firm. She suggests learning to read between the lines. “Each situation must be assessed on its own merit,” she says. “Be aware of the larger cultural context.” In some company cultures or workplaces, a direct confrontation might make matters worse. “Before you respond, remember you need not attend every argument or challenge you are invited to. Differentiate between irritants and actual threats.”

Take the highroad where you can and learn not to sweat the small stuff. Sometimes authority figures who seem to be overly harsh or threatening are simply misinformed or being pressured from above.

Question 4: How can I listen more – then act?

WikiHow has some great methods for dealing with people in authority. They say, “Realise that the person in authority was in your position once. All modern-day authority figures were kids, and people of little authority at one time, and all of them have been talked to by someone they saw as a superior or authority figure.”

Listening a little goes a long, long way. Far too quickly we feel the need to jump in and offer our own opinions on how something should be done. When dealing with someone in authority, learn when to step back, and when to step up.

“(Authority figures) have also suffered the awkward conversation, and they know how you feel when talking to authority,” says WikiHow. “Most will go easy on you because of this. Remember, they want to either ask you a simple question or give you some helpful advice - they don't necessarily want to scare you.”

Learning to deal effectively with people of authority is an essential business skill that everyone can benefit from. Taking some time to examine your relationship with figures of authority can be a valuable exercise that may see your career reach new heights.

5 Personality traits that you think are negative


Personality Traits5 personality traits you think are negative that are great for your


There are many personality traits that are lauded in the workplace as being broadly positive

hard-working, assertive, creative and professional people often seem to get ahead and

might even rise to upper management and beyond.

But what of those negatively perceived personality traits that were all told to work on to

self-improve? Could some of these traits actually benefit you in the workplace, despite their

negative connotations?

1). Bossiness and assertiveness can be helpful for progressing your career

Every workplace has its share of bossy people and in many cases, these people might in

fact work in upper management. Being bossy is normally not seen as a positive thing but

there are loads of studies online that indicate that a little bit of assertiveness applied in the

right way can be very helpful to your career.

Using assertiveness the correct way can be helpful in communicating your needs and ideas,

and making sure youre work gets the attention it deserves. Just ensure you strike the right

note and you know when to back off. Trade bossiness for assertiveness and see your career

reach new heights.

2). Being a worrier can be a sign of greater intelligence

No one likes the feeling of being worried and chronic worry can lead to stress and even

medical issues, such as insomnia and weight gain. However, there are many reported

benefits to being a worrier, per scientific studies.

According to a study called Intelligence and emotional disorders: Is the worrying and

ruminating mind a more intelligent mind? worriers are often quite intelligent. A US-based

research crew looked at about 130 undergraduate students and found a strong correlation

between worrying and intelligence.

The study showed that when someone displayed high amounts of verbal intelligence, they

were also more pre-disposed to think future events through in great detail. Neurologist Dr

Andrew Gordon points out that It makes sense that highly intelligent people may worry more

because they are able to digest more information and see multiple sides of a particular


3). People that fidget might have lower stress levels in the long term

According to , Studies have shown that the amount of time we spend

sitting down is associated with reduced lifespan and a higher incidence of heart disease and

stroke But breaking up your sitting time throughout the day with simple activities like

walking or stretching your legs could counteract the harmful effects of (sitting down) and lead

to better overall health. So, the next time you see someone fidget near you, making you

want to scream, just remember that its actually a positive personality trait that may assist

with workplace stress.

4). Micromanagement can have workplace benefits

Micromanagement refers to inappropriately close observation and control of a subordinate's

work by a manager (referring) to overemphasis on the minute details of employees' work.

The author of the piece admits that he is indeed a micromanager but insists that this really

just makes him more available to his staff when they need him.

I am ok with it, says Raphael M. Barishansky, I consider myself a positive micromanager.

Positive micromanagement focuses on what people want and need from managers rather

than what managers must do to feel in charge. In fact, there are many well-known,

celebrated micromanagers, such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

5). People who are shy might make better decisions than their bold counterparts

There are many benefits to being introverted, both in your private life and within your career.

As well as being more approachable than your bolder colleagues, if you are shy or socially

anxious you might typically be more of a problem-solver or thinker too. This trait (shyness)

can be helpful when it comes to many life decisions, explains . Thinking

carefully and planning before taking action are important for many of life's hurdles including

planning for the unexpected, avoiding unnecessary risk, and setting long-term goals.

Other reports suggest that people who are shy might be seen as more approachable by their

peers and might be regarded as more trustworthy.

Women in Security Part 1

Women in Security 1

Women in Security

Like many other industries, the security industry is going through a serious transformation; and SECTA is abolishing gender imbalances in the industry and societies misconceptions surrounding female security guards.

One of the most common misconceptions about the security industry is that physically, security officers need to look a certain way. Stereotypes held by society often portray security guards to be large and strong males; although with females doing just about anything these days, this is far from a reality.

Women are increasingly defeating societies generalisations, as well as our outdated sexist attitudes. SECTA is integrating gender in the security industry and revolutionising a segment of the workforce that has formerly been dominated by males. “There has been previous thoughts that women can’t be tough, but that’s totally wrong. We need a range of both men and women in this industry,” said Kerry, student at SECTA.

With the number of female students in each course continuing to grow, we found out just why women are a great fit for the security industry, and why we need more female security officers in Australia.

“It would be good to see more women in the industry as there are lots of customer service security roles which would be great a great fit for women,” said Kiralee, student at SECTA.

With current laws scrutinising males as inappropriate when having to pat someone down or body search, it’s evident the security industry needs a woman’s touch.

“It’s a very male dominated industry and we need more women for obvious reasons, especially at concerts for searching people because males can’t search everyone, meaning females attending the concert can walk in with anything,” said Kiralee.

Female security guards are said to have more of a calming effect in potentially stressful situations, especially with male drinkers. More passive and less intimidating, intoxicated females often feel more comfortable with other females figures.

“There’s so many roles where females security guards should be. For example, female bathrooms should be getting checked and we need more female security guards to do that, because women would be more comfortable with that,” said SECTA student, Sarah.

“We need more female security officers because females can come across as more approachable as we have that sensitive side. Also for the reason it will allow other females to feel more comfortable.”

SECTA’s two week intensive training course is the perfect transition for women hoping to become security officers, whether it’s at airports, clubs, retail stores or corporations; or as a step towards working in the police force.

“I think SECTA’s course has provided me with enough employment information to commence work, while some others might not- but SECTA I think has a higher standard,” said SECTA student, Kate.

“What Dave teaches in the 2 week course is very intense. It prepares you for employment and you get a lot of information about the outside workplace,” said Kerry.

Whether you work in hospitality and are looking to further your knowledge, or are choosing security as your designated career path; SECTA provides students with an intense, highly knowledgeable course, packed tightly into two weeks of training.

“I work in a club at the front desk and we have security guards there, so it gives me more of an understanding of how it all works,” said Kiralee.

“Our managers now have their security licenses so if something does happen in a club, we know what security can and can’t do. We know and can help out,” said Kiralee.

SECTA’s training courses help develop students’ interpersonal skills, as well as their knowledge of the security industry itself. With activities such as role plays helping students prepare for real life situations, SECTA is moulding students into workforce ready, quick-thinkers who are confident in their own skin.  

“SECTA’s training course helped me to gain confidence in myself, good communication skills and the confidence and ability to work as a team,” said Emily.

“I liked the role playing and the assignments, as well as the lectures. They’re easy to understand and so well explained that you don’t even need to ask questions,” said recent SECTA graduate, Renu.

With an impressive track record of training females students who are now employed in varying roles of the security industry, SECTA is continuously taking progressive steps to address industry gaps and actively make a difference. Working in security may seem like one of the more challenging career paths, yet the rewards are eternal.

“Its confronting, but well worth it at the end of the day,” said Kerry.

10 steps to developing your career in security

Are you working in security, planning a career or looking at ways to get to the next level? The Department of Employment in Australia has a great website called Job Outlook that is put together using evidence from the Australian Census. It contains information on the various types of skills you’ll need to develop in order to be successful in many different careers, including in the security industry.
There are various names and career pathways for the role typically referred to as Security Guard. Some of the career titles you may be given are: Alarm, Security or Surveillance Monitor; Retail Loss Prevention Officer; Security Consultant; Armoured Car Escort or Security Officer or Professional. Whatever you’re called, if you want to boost your job prospects or gain a promotion, here are 10 things you can do to develop your career.
#1: Boost your attention skills
Having the ability to maintain your attention for lengthy periods of time is an essential skill. Job Outlook says, “Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times,” are all things you need to learn to do.
#2: Actively look for ways to help people
Security Guards and all security staff are usually implemented by employers to make workers, employees and the public feel safe. It’s often not enough just to take a passive interest in your role – to get ahead you need to constantly look for ways to actively engage with and assist people.
#3: Work on your negotiation skills
A successful career that has long term impact and progression often means that you’ve learned to hone your negotiation skills. Without these, you may not even last a week. Job Outlook explains, “Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences,” is a major part of the gig.
#4: Be a motivator in your team
Whether you’re the boss or not, it pays to work with others to keep them motivated. This will make you feel like an important part of the team and can help to keep you alert and engaged. “Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job,” could all be ways to help the hours and days fly by and go more smoothly. Aim to inspire others.
#5: Learn to manage your time
This is a skill that’s important to develop in most jobs, from retail, to office to security workers. Without this essential skill you may find that you fail to prioritise tasks and fall behind in your work. Learning to be punctual and a good time manager can mean that you’ll stand out to the boss and be first in line when it comes to getting a promotion.
#6: Work on your powers of persuasion    
“Persuading others to change their minds or behaviour,” is one of the skills that Job Outlook lists as being of importance to Security Guards. In your job, you’re likely to have to work with members of the public in many different situations. People may be uncompliant, intoxicated or simply confused about where to go or what to do. You need to be a great communicator, who gets your point across in a clear and direct way.
#7: Be an active learner
In every job role, if you truly want to get ahead, you’ll need to look at ways to add to your skill set and develop in your role – that will ensure you get to the next level, whether you seek a management role or to start your own business. “Understanding the implications of new information” in both current and future situations and “problem-solving and decision-making” are a couple places to start, according to the Department of Employment.
#8: Work on your social perceptiveness    
As a Security Guard, you’ll need to be on top of lots of things all at once. “Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do” is an essential part of the job. As well as this, you’ll need to be aware of your surroundings, and how those you’re assisting are reacting to their environment, such as crowds, announcements or even emergency situations.
#9: Be a complex problem solver
Working in security, you’re there to deal with problems and issues as they arise. In many cases you may have to use your judgement to assess a situation quickly and react appropriately. “Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions” is one of the main skills identified by Job Outlook as being important to your job role.
#10: Learn to judge others’ characters
People can be unpredictable and you’ll need to be able to quickly assess both their needs and reactions. As well as this, you may be dealing with many different types of people on a day to day basis, from young people, to people from non-English speaking backgrounds. “Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one” in any given situation can mean the difference between a safe day at work and one where you will not achieve the desired outcome of your security role.