There’s nothing quite as unprofessional and banal as the Law Enforcement Officer, Police Officer, Public Safety Official, Healthcare Security Officer, Security Officer, or other Contact Professional who (wrongly) presumes that a stern outer appearance is an effective way to greet others. It’s not.
A stern outer facial expression, often accompanied by an unfriendly, overly-directive tone of voice, and accompanying, unfriendly, body language is not helpful. It is not only unpleasant, but is also escalatory in terms of how it does NOT create safety and how it contributes to making your environment MORE, and not less, conducive to behavioral escalation and violence.
We all know the truth of the matter; the so-called Professionals who exhibit the unfriendly, no-smiling, demeanor are covering up their own personal weakness, their own lack of confidence, their lack of training, or some combination of all of this. Make no mistake; this is an Officer Safety training issue and leadership should address it and, of course, model appropriately. This is not simply about being a decent, friendly, Ethical Protector in and to one’s community/organization (although this is VERY important as well!). No…it’s about creating safety, for the Professional and everyone around her/him.
Our facial expressions, tone of voice, and all body language are part of our overall “uniform.” It’s how we should be meeting & greeting others to create safety by contributing to non-escalatory communication. And please, save the argument that one cannot be decent/kind AND also tactically safe at the same time. If that’s your excuse, then clearly your training program is not sophisticated enough.
Be kind. Be safe. Be both.