An executive protection company’s main resource is its agents and these agents represent the kind of security that the company provides for high-profile clients.
These executive protection agents are the best in the business and this is why hiring them can be difficult, as they need to possess a strict set of qualities and skills that are way beyond what a typical bodyguard can do.
This requires agents that can spend lots of time with their principals without trying to become friends with them. This alone requires a certain set of characteristics to be able to thrive in this setting.
Then there are traits that dwell more on emotional intelligence, which an agent must have in abundance in order to carry out his job well.
Qualities of the Best Executive Protection Agents in the Business
Here are the traits that executive protection companies look for in their agents, which are essential to give the level of security required for principals such as VIPs, celebrities, and high net-worth individuals.
It’s a special mix of smarts and determination, which enables agents to make do with what they’ve got in order to get the best out of any situation.
Agents are often placed in situations that are unfamiliar to them in terms of tasks, venue, expectations, and a whole lot more. Even if there are standard operating procedures in place, these can still get tested when confronted with a non-standard situation.
This is why an executive protection agent should be creative problem solvers who can adapt well and quick to think on their feet. They know that they can’t just rely on Plan A and that they should have a Plan B, C, or even more when the situation calls for it.
An agent should have the ability to think ahead. As the philosopher, Seneca puts it, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” A superior agent makes their own luck because of their forward-thinking. It’s just like how a chess player thinks.
Bad things can happen to anyone, even to the best of executive protection agents. Resilient agents are not those who never got into tough situations—they are the ones who experienced all sorts of scrapes and managed to cope and keep their missions on track, no matter what happens.
In this profession, helplessness is not an option. It’s important for an agent to be able to go through emotional turmoil without turning into a wreck.
A calm sense of urgency is needed to be able to operate as usual even if the situation has turned into an emergency mode. It takes special skills to counter negative emotions with positive ones and this is what resilient agents are good at.
Nothing less than 100% professional commitment in serving the principal is required from an executive protection agent. The needs of the principal supersede his own in terms of security, privacy, and productivity.
It takes a certain character to put personal preferences aside to tend to another’s, which is precisely what an agent is getting paid handsomely to do.
Agents also know that professional commitment is a one-way street. It’s not reciprocal and it’s not about being friends with the person they’re tasked to protect.
Executive protection agents get close to the principal in ways that nobody else can, apart from family and friends. Agents are tasked to protect the principal whenever, wherever—while he’s working, in the privacy of his family home, during traveling.
The principal is just supposed to go on his business of living his life as his agent hovers nearby and this is why utmost discretion is needed. Complete confidentiality is non-negotiable in this business.
Just because they are in the background doesn’t mean they don’t need social skills. On the contrary, because agents have to work with people and foster relationships in order to get the results that they want.
The best executive protection agents have the social skills of a consummate networker, who can deal with anyone, from the hotel kitchen staff to the people staying at the lavish suite. Building rapport is part of their job.
Agents need to be tuned to other people’s feelings, not just the principal but everyone else in his circle. They also need to be empathetic to the other people on the executive protection team.
An agent must be able to pick up verbal and non-verbal cues related to someone’s personality, company culture, and even a country’s way of doing business.
But they also need to have their empathy controlled and not unrestrained. Cool calculation always wins against warm compassion.
Protocols should always be in place and not dropped just to please the principal. An agent knows how to recognize feelings and at the same time keeping the program’s overall objectives in mind.
All individuals must know their own strengths and weaknesses and this trait is a very crucial thing for an executive protection agent to have.
They must know how their own moods and emotions affect other people and they should be able to address their own goals and motivations as well.
People who have this level of self-awareness develop high-level self-confidence, which is something that an executive protection agent should have in abundance.
Although it’s not a secret that the best executive protection agents are paid very well for their worth, what keeps them going is not just solely the financial rewards.
What security companies look for in their prospective agents may vary, but these are the non-negotiable qualities that they definitely share.
These traits are significant for the special demands of the executive protection industry, which are in line with the primary goal of keeping principals safe, productive, and happy no matter their setup.