Jacqueline Brogan, central station manager at Alarm Detection Systems in Aurora, Ill., is The Monitoring Association’s 2020 Central Station Manager of the Year for her work in leading a team of more than 20 operators. She first joined the team in 2012 as an operator, then became a customer service representative in 2015. She returned to the central station in 2019 to take on her current position. Brogan sat down with SDM to discuss her management style and how Alarm Detection Systems makes its employees feel like family.
SDM: How would you describe your leadership style?
Brogan: I feel like I’ve learned a lot from watching a lot of bad managers. And it’s not to say that everything about them was bad. But some things that they did, you look at it as an employee, and you’re thinking, I would do that differently. And I had a lot of years of poor management. I’ve had a lot of years of great management, too. At Alarm Detection, I’ve had a lot of great leadership that I’ve been able to look up to, and advance my skills based on watching them and seeing how well they work. As a team, the management works very well together. There’s always somebody that you can turn to, and every time I come up with some kind of crazy idea, there’s always somebody that supports it. I just like to be one of them. I like to make sure that they know that I’m here to help them. I’m here to be there for them and guide them through their job. Some of the best ideas that we get come from the employees, and it’s important to listen to them. I am always getting feedback from them, and they help me be good at my job. In return, I can help them have a great environment to work in.
SDM: What are some of the core principles you work by?
Brogan: Just be honest and have integrity, and I think people will follow that. If you’re going to change something, I try to always provide the why. I’m kind of like a two-year-old in that way, because if you don’t know the why and you’re only saying do this because I told you to, it doesn’t teach them anything. It doesn’t teach me anything. Tell me why we’re doing it, and from there, I can implement what you’re telling me to do. Knowing the why helps me perfect the process.
SDM: How did your central station respond to the coronavirus crisis?
Brogan: This is one of those things that comes down to the people above me having great minds that work very well together; and they have been very involved in trying to find ways to keep going as a business and keep the employees safe. They’ve really made the safety of the employees their number one priority. Thankfully, we have a lot of buildings to work through, so we separated everybody. We’re normally in the central station; we all share a workspace. We gave everybody an assigned seat, so that is their spot, and nobody else is coming to sit where you sit and breathe where you sit. Every idea that anybody has had has been helpful. We had one person say, in the grocery store, they have these Plexiglass things. The next day, we had Plexiglass separating all of our stations within the central station. So they’ve been swift and quick, and they listen to every idea that anybody has, and they encourage people to communicate those ideas.
SDM: What are your future goals, both for yourself and your team?
Brogan: The only goal I really have is their success. I want to see them learn more, ask more questions and be more involved in things and not feel like they can’t bring something to me. I want them to learn every aspect that they can learn and any question that they have, I want them to bring it to me. And, it helps us all get better, it helps us all grow. I tell them all the time, I might not have the answer, but I’ll get it. I certainly do not know everything, and I am humble enough to admit that I don’t. Teaching them to be better at what they do only helps them, helps the team, helps the company [and] helps our customers. I think that they respect what I do and my opinion more when they understand where I’m coming from, and why I’m implementing something — again, the why. But that’s really what I’m looking for. I just want to see them grow to do even more than they’ve already done. We already have a fantastic team. I work with some of the best people and I want to see us all be able to grow off of that and do more with it, and be better and more confident in what we’re doing and more sure of ourselves. Technology’s always changing, so there’s always something more to learn. I’d like to be able to make sure they’re staying on top of learning all these things as they’re coming out — myself included.