Best practice conflict management advice for door supervisors (part one)

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Working the doors is a highly responsible role; one minute you’re greeting customers with a smile, the next, you’re splitting up a massive fight that’s erupted and somebody has a heart attack. Before you know it, you’re the first port of call for first aid before the paramedics arrive at the scene.

Now that you’ve imagined that scenario, imagine this – what would happen if effective conflict management didn’t take place? It’d be an extremely different scenario indeed.

For one, you’re more likely to have more aggression directed at you. The likelihood of violence erupting is also more prevalent. As a result, injuries and litigation against door supervisors and their employers is more likely to rise.

In certain circumstances, situations like these can carry major consequences for both venues and their staff. Nightclubs/bars can see a dip in their revenue, while door supervisors can wind up with a criminal record, losing their SIA license and even, facing prison.

 

However, instances like these can be avoided if the right tactics, such as the three-pronged approach, are applied. This approach involves door supervisors having:

 

REQUIREMENT 1: The soft skills to prevent conflict in the first place.

REQUIREMENT 2: A comprehensive understanding of the law.

REQUIREMENT 3: A toolbox of physical skills to deal with virtually every eventuality, from low-level escorts to high-level restraining.

 

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What do we mean by soft skills?

 

Trust

Soft skills are based on the principle that trust is built on first impressions, which is what you can gauge from someone’s initial appearance.

 

Rapport

Establishing a strong rapport is also key. The more rapport door supervisors have with a paying customer the more likely they are to comply with them.

 

Congruency

Our body language and tone of voice portrays our true feelings. In order to create good relationships, door supervisors need to aim for congruency at all times.

 

Legal knowledge

As obvious as it may sound, continuous learning around the law helps door supervisors make the right decisions quickly, which is key when people’s safety is seriously at risk.

 

Mind over matter

During the 20+ years I’ve been teaching conflict management to door supervisors, there’s one thing we couldn’t stress more enough, and that’s having the right mindset. It undoubtedly provides the right foundation to delivering highly effective conflict management. And here’s what it looks like for many door supervisors:

I will have a front of house mindset

I will always control my attitude

I will control my behaviour

I am a team player and will ask for feedback

I am a good communicator and will strive to get better

I will always reflect on my performance

 

Manners count

It’s not just having the right mindset that can make all the difference to conflict management, it’s the delivery that counts too. In fact, POLITE™ communication can go a very long way and this is how it’s applied:

 

P = Position. Where are you positioned compared to the customer? Are you in their personal space? What angle have you approached them from? (If you approach straight from the front, this could be perceived as confrontational).

O= Observation. Are you looking to see if your customer is becoming more or less compliant? Is the customer getting closer to you and therefore more dangerous?  

L= Listening. Are you using all of your senses and looking at the situation through the eyes of the other person, which is otherwise known as empathic listening?

I= Intuition. You will have a gut feeling about how your communication is going. If the situation’s not going well, then you may need to change your tactics or pass the baton to a colleague.

T= Talking. Are you asking specific, open questions, such as, “how can I help you today?”

E= Eye contact. Make appropriate eye contact, as too much can be perceived as a threat and not enough can be interpreted as you not caring or feeling intimidated.

 

Got any questions or want to discuss any of the points above in more detail with us? Contact Darren on 0845 576 0035 or info@good-sense.co.uk.

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