The Top 7 Soft Skills in Executive Protection to Know

soft skills in executive protection

soft skills in executive protection

As blockbuster movies and spy shows would have you believe, executive protection is all about handling weapons, shooting targets, and wearing cool shades. However, it’s actually the soft skills in executive protection that hold more importance and power than hard skills.

So how do we define soft skills and which ones are important to know? Which ones should you be sharpening and which bad habits should be left on the shelf? Keep reading to learn more about soft skills in executive protection.

What Are Soft Skills?

Before we get into what soft skills you need in the security and protection industry, let’s first define what they are. Sometimes referred to as interpersonal or people skills, soft skills are attributes and abilities that allow you to interact with others effectively and efficiently.

Unlike hard skills, which are often technical and industry-specific, soft skills are about how you behave around and interact with others. They’re essential for almost every aspect of a person’s life, not only their work. 

Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills

As we briefly mentioned, hard skills are typically very technical and job-specific, relevant to each position and seniority level. That means almost every position requires a different set of these skills and if you’re changing your industry, for example, you’ll likely need to adopt some new ones.

For executive protection, hard skills often refer to armed and unarmed combat, surveillance, first aid, defensive driving, and more. 

On the other hand, you have your soft skills, which are not only transferable between industries but also crucial to your personal and professional life. 

The Top 7 Soft Skills in Executive Protection to Know

Let’s take a closer look at what those soft skills in executive protection are and what they look like in the industry.

#1 Tactical Communication (Verbal and Written)

When you’re an EP agent, you’ll be communicating with clients, managers, handlers, companies, colleagues, and many others daily. One of the most important things you can do (if you want to put your best foot forward) is to hone your verbal and written communication skills.

However, the first step toward mastering this soft skill is learning how to listen. By learning how to listen and effectively communicate, you’ll be able to better maintain security and safety in almost every situation you’re in. Knowing how to communicate and converse with others will help you build better rapport and relationships with your principals and colleagues. 

#2 Resilience and Adaptability 

One thing almost everyone who’s been in the industry for a while will tell you is that to make it, you need to be able to adapt and you need tough skin. Executive protection can be a very high-octane position at times, and without being flexible and knowing how to act while keeping your cool, you won’t make it far. 

It’s great when everything is going according to a well-crafted and thought-out plan and you can easily apply any skill. But once you add in stress, poor weather conditions, sensitive matters, and difficult situations – it’s time to sink or swim.

Your ability to react calmly and apply the skills you have is the resilience and adaptability you need to make it in the industry. It’s something that you can learn, practice, and train and that you’ll need for most situations in your life.

#3 Time Management and Organization

Time management is one of the most crucial soft skills in executive protection and failing to realize that and stay on track can have serious consequences. From managing schedules to staying on top of the minute, but important details – a well-organized approach to your work will be the key to your success.

If you have trouble staying organized and keeping track of your tasks, take advantage of different apps and tech advancements at your disposal. Utilize your notes and calendar apps to take down important information like contact details, travel itineraries, or things specific to your principal.

#4 Attention to Detail

In executive protection, as it is often in life, the devil is in the details. One minor detail or piece of information that might seem irrelevant to someone could be what makes or breaks your entire operation.

Whether you’re in executive protection, security, or cyber, it’s crucial that you’re attentive, vigilant, and always paying attention. Noticing things out of the ordinary is what will protect you and your principal when threats come forward.

Even beyond that, your attention to detail shouldn’t solely be on surrounding factors. It also means paying attention to your attire, tone, etiquette, and protocol. As an EPA, you’re expected to blend into various settings, while providing discreet but effective security services.

#5 Emotional Intelligence & Critical Thinking

Knowing how to maintain a protective formation while staying discreet and effective is a massive part of emotional intelligence and critical thinking. In this line of work, you need to have excellent judgment, a quick wit, and be emotionally intelligent to deal with your principals in a calm, collected, and professional manner.

For your work, you will have to quickly break down complex information into pieces or basic principles. Then, you’ll have to carefully evaluate that information and determine how you can interpret it to ensure you’re making a solid decision. All of this will kick-start your problem-solving skills, which again, need to be swift and sound.

#6 Creativity

Creativity is one of those soft skills in executive protection that simply isn’t talked about enough. While you do always have to carry out meticulous planning and follow protocol, there is a lot of room for creativity – especially when it’s done right. 

As a Personal Protection Specialist (PPS), you’ll likely often find yourself in situations you’ve never been in before. Specific situations, principals, and colleagues will require you to adopt a new approach, and a fresh strategy, and to think outside of the box. To successfully pull that off, you’ll need to be creative and have a unique perspective on things.

#7 Teamwork and Collaboration

Even though working on an assignment is often a solitary position, you’re likely never truly working alone. Whether you’re part of a security detail, a company, or a principal’s entourage, you’ll almost always be around people and you need to know how to work well with others.

Regardless of whether you’re completely by yourself or part of a bigger team, you’ll need to employ almost all of your soft skills to ensure a successful endeavor. 

Final Thoughts

Writing down all the soft skills in executive protection is a virtually impossible task as there are too many to list. When you’re working in the industry, you’ll find yourself employing all of these skills and countless others to ensure smooth operations and efficient protection service.

But now we want to hear from you. Let us know which soft skills we’ve missed, which ones you’d like to learn more about, and how you use them in your day-to-day life.