8 Rational De-Escalation Techniques Every Security Guard Should KnowDecember 8, 2023
As a security guard, you may encounter situations where you have to deal with angry, aggressive, or violent people. These situations can be stressful, dangerous, and unpredictable. How can you handle them effectively and safely?
In this blog post, we will share with you 8 rational de-escalation techniques that can help you calm down angry people and resolve conflicts peacefully. These techniques are based on the principles of communication, empathy, and problem-solving. They are not only useful for security guards, but also for anyone who wants to improve their conflict resolution skills.
What is De-escalation?
De-escalation is the process of reducing the intensity of a conflict or a potentially violent situation. It involves using verbal and non-verbal communication skills to defuse the tension and prevent the situation from escalating into violence.
De-escalation is not about giving in to the other person’s demands, nor is it about being passive or submissive. It is about finding a way to communicate respectfully and constructively, and to reach a mutually acceptable outcome.
De-escalation is not always possible or appropriate. Sometimes, you may have to use physical force or call for backup to protect yourself and others. However, de-escalation should always be your first option, as it can help you avoid unnecessary harm and liability.
Why is De-escalation Important for Security Guards?
De-escalation is important for security guards for several reasons:
• It can help you maintain your professionalism and reputation. By using de-escalation techniques, you can show that you are calm, confident, and competent in handling difficult situations. This can enhance your credibility and trustworthiness as a security guard, and also improve your relationship with your clients and the public.
• It can help you protect yourself and others from harm. By using de-escalation techniques, you can reduce the risk of physical injury, psychological trauma, and legal consequences. You can also prevent the situation from getting worse and involving more people or damage.
• It can help you achieve your goals and objectives. By using de-escalation techniques, you can address the underlying issues and needs of the other person, and find a solution that works for both parties. This can help you accomplish your tasks and duties as a security guard, and also satisfy the expectations of your employer and the law.
How to Use De-escalation Techniques as a Security Guard
Here are 8 de-escalation techniques that you can use as a security guard to handle conflict situations effectively:
1. Build trust by showing compassion and respect.
The first step in de-escalation is to establish rapport and trust with the other person. This can help you lower their defenses and make them more receptive to your message. To build trust, you need to show compassion and respect for the other person, regardless of how they behave or what they say. You can do this by:
• Using a calm and friendly tone of voice.
• Using the person’s name or a polite term of address, such as “sir” or “ma’am”.
• Acknowledging the person’s emotions and situation, such as “I can see that you are upset” or “I understand that this is a difficult time for you”.
• Avoiding judgmental or provocative language, such as “you are wrong” or “you are crazy”.
• Avoiding threats or ultimatums, such as “if you don’t calm down, I will arrest you” or “you have no choice but to leave”.
• Avoiding physical contact or gestures that may be perceived as aggressive, such as pointing, touching, or invading the person’s personal space.
2. Listen actively and attentively without interrupting.
The second step in de-escalation is to listen to what the other person has to say, and to show that you are paying attention and care about their concerns. This can help you understand the person’s perspective and motives, and also make them feel heard and valued. To listen actively and attentively, you need to:
• Maintain eye contact and a neutral facial expression.
• Nod or make affirmative sounds, such as “uh-huh” or “I see”, to indicate that you are listening.
• Ask open-ended questions, such as “what happened?” or “how do you feel?”, to encourage the person to share more information and feelings.
• Summarize or paraphrase what the person said, such as “so, what you are saying is…” or “let me make sure I understand…”, to check your comprehension and show your interest.
• Avoid interrupting, arguing, or correcting the person, even if you disagree or think they are wrong. Let them finish their story and express their emotions before you respond.
3. Deflect insults and change the topic by asking open-ended questions.
The third step in de-escalation is to avoid getting into a verbal fight with the other person, and to steer the conversation towards a more productive and positive direction. This can help you reduce the hostility and negativity, and also create an opportunity for problem-solving. To deflect insults and change the topic, you need to:
• Ignore or minimize the insults or accusations that the person may throw at you, such as “you are a jerk” or “you don’t know what you are doing”. Don’t take them personally or respond in kind, as this will only escalate the situation and damage your credibility.
• Change the subject by asking open-ended questions that are relevant and interesting to the person, such as “what are you passionate about?” or “what are your goals in life?”. This can help you distract the person from their anger and frustration, and also discover their values and interests.
• Focus on the positive aspects of the person or the situation, such as “you have a lot of courage” or “you have a lot of potential”. This can help you boost the person’s self-esteem and confidence, and also create a rapport and common ground.
4. Empathize with the other person’s feelings and validate them.
The fourth step in de-escalation is to empathize with the other person’s feelings and validate them. This can help you show that you care and respect the person as a human being, and also reduce their emotional intensity and defensiveness. To empathize and validate, you need to:
• Identify and name the emotions that the person is feeling, such as “you are angry” or “you are scared”. This can help you acknowledge and label the person’s feelings, and also make them more aware and manageable.
• Express sympathy and understanding for the person’s feelings, such as “I’m sorry that you feel that way” or “I can imagine how hard that must be”. This can help you convey that you are not judging or blaming the person, and also make them feel less alone and isolated.
• Affirm the person’s right to feel the way they do, such as “you have every right to be angry” or “anyone would be scared in your situation”. This can help you validate the person’s feelings as legitimate and normal, and also make them feel more accepted and supported.
5. Apologize if you make a mistake or offend someone.
The fifth step in de-escalation is to apologize if you make a mistake or offend someone. This can help you show that you are humble and accountable, and also repair the relationship and trust with the other person. To apologize, you need to:
• Admit your mistake or offense, such as “I’m sorry, I was wrong” or “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you”. This can help you take responsibility and ownership for your actions and words, and also show your honesty and integrity.
• Explain your mistake or offense, such as “I was misinformed” or “I was under a lot of stress”. This can help you provide context and rationale for your mistake or offense, and also show your sincerity and transparency.
• Express your regret and remorse, such as “I wish I could take it back” or “I feel terrible about it”. This can help you demonstrate your empathy and compassion, and also show your regret and remorse.
• Offer to make amends or restitution, such as “what can I do to make it up to you?” or “how can I fix this?”. This can help you show your willingness and commitment to improve the situation, and also show your respect and cooperation.
6. Clarify what the other person is saying and what they want.
The sixth step in de-escalation is to clarify what the other person is saying and what they want. This can help you avoid misunderstandings and confusion, and also identify the core issues and needs of the other person. To clarify, you need to:
• Ask clarifying questions, such as “what do you mean by that?” or “can you give me an example?”. This can help you get more details and specifics from the person, and also show your curiosity and attention.
• Repeat or restate what the person said, such as “so, you are saying that…” or “let me see if I got this right…”. This can help you confirm and verify what the person said, and also show your comprehension and feedback.
• Ask the person what they want or expect, such as “what are you hoping for?” or “what would make you happy?”. This can help you understand the person’s goals and desires, and also show your interest and concern.
7. Suggest solutions that are acceptable to both parties.
The seventh step in de-escalation is to suggest solutions that are acceptable to both parties. This can help you resolve the conflict and reach a win-win outcome, and also show your creativity and collaboration. To suggest solutions, you need to:
• Brainstorm possible options or alternatives that can address the person’s needs and wants, as well as your own, such as “what if we do this?” or “how about that?”. This can help you generate creative and constructive ideas, and also show your flexibility and openness.
• Evaluate the pros and cons of each option or alternative, such as “what are the benefits and drawbacks of this option?” or “how would this option affect you and me?”. This can help you assess the feasibility and desirability of each option, and also show your logic and rationality.
• Choose the best option or alternative that is acceptable to both parties, such as “I think this option is the best for both of us” or “can we agree on this option?”. This can help you reach a consensus and compromise, and also show your fairness and cooperation.
8. Document the incident and report it to your supervisor.
The eighth and final step in de-escalation is to document the incident and report it to your supervisor. This can help you keep a record and evidence of what happened, and also follow the policies and procedures of your security guard company. To document and report, you need to:
• Write down the details of the incident, such as the date, time, location, names, witnesses, actions, words, outcomes, etc. This can help you provide accurate and complete information, and also show your professionalism and responsibility.
• Take photos or videos of the scene, the people involved, the injuries, the damages, etc. This can help you provide visual and tangible proof, and also show your diligence and thoroughness.
• Report the incident to your supervisor as soon as possible, and follow their instructions and guidance. This can help you comply with the rules and regulations of your security guard company, and also show your respect and loyalty.
Contact Us Today
De-escalation stands as a crucial skill for our security guards, enabling them to adeptly manage conflict situations with efficacy and safety. Utilizing the 8 de-escalation techniques outlined in this blog post, our guards enhance their communication, empathy, and problem-solving abilities, contributing to a heightened sense of professionalism and an esteemed reputation in the field of security.
If you are keen on delving further into de-escalation and acquiring additional insights into various security guard skills, we encourage you to explore our website and subscribe to our newsletter. Contact AAA Security Guard Services today for unparalleled security solutions.
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