People often think of survival from a lone-wolf perspective. While the old saying of “you travel faster when you travel alone” is true, the idea that you could effectively take on all the threats and complications of industrial collapse in a world without law, alone, is naïve. Even highly trained military Special Forces soldiers operate in teams. The plain truth of the matter, in terms of your survival, is that you’re better off with a group. Obviously, this requires a great deal of foresight and planning. Functional teams rarely occur by accident.
While group size complicates team-related matters, to function effectively as a team, four key elements must be in place. Leadership, communication, diversity of capabilities, and trust. A person could lose their mind attempting to define each of these elements at length, so we’ve gone to the trouble of dishing out the short and sweet of it.
First and foremost, the burden of leadership is something that must be undertaken with humility and respect. Leaders mold individuals into a team. The best leaders are not always the people who seek to be leaders. Ego, fear, and personal sensitivities must be put aside and sacrifices must be made for the good of the team. There are numerous leadership styles out there, leaders lead differently as a result of personality and situation. But effective leaders possess specific traits that make them ideal candidates to lead. An effective leader:
- Leads by example
- Maintains high ethical standards
- Is patient
- Communicates effectively
- Uses power wisely
Whether it’s using hand signals in a dark forest to alert one another of an approaching threat, or sitting down to hash out a dispute over choice of tactics, communication (or lack thereof) makes or breaks a team. Hollywood tends to paint pictures of steely-eyed, quiet men of action who get the job done in tough situations. While there is definitely a time to shut your mouth, and get to work, being able to express yourself and connect with fellow teammates is absolutely vital.
Diversity of Capabilities
Very few people are legitimately good at everything. Strengths and weakness vary, and should be seen as assets on a team. Teams adapt or perish in a true SHTF situation. To be as adaptable as possible, you must know who is good at what, and let them do their thing. The guy on your team who can MacGyver his way out of anything may not be the best long range shot. The best tracker on your team may not be the fastest runner on your squad. Having a team with a diversity of talents and capabilities brings more options to every and any situation.
As the old-timers would say, “trust is always earned, never given.” A team that is going into a survival, SHTF, end-of-the-world scenario, must have trust. If you can’t trust the man next to you in a real fight, how are you going to win that fight? The answer is, that you will not. Developing trust within your team is arguably the most important element of a team. That’s why Fortune 500 companies and wilderness outdoor leadership schools alike spend huge amounts of budget on team building seminars. It’s why the soldiers come back from combat zones and sometimes feel closer to complete strangers they fought with on a battlefield than their own family members. Trust is key.