Key Leadership Guidelines, by Old Bobbert

Let’s assume that you find yourself in charge of an extended family or group retreat. Without daily leadership communication efforts, and some serious daily security procedures, there will be nothing left to secure, nothing to eat, no water to drink. There will be NOTHING! No one will survive. Post-event survival will be dependent on decisions that are made in advance of stress, necessity, or coercion.

“No man is a leader until his appointment is ratified in the minds and hearts of his men” – The Infantry Journal
Security Team and the General Parameters

Now is the time to decide on the minimum talents, experience, training, character, and dependability that your post-event situation will need to be reflected in the person you will choose to be your “security team leader”. These qualification standards will need to be flexible and will definitely need to be determined in advance of the selection process.

The title of team leader is a working job description, and has specific meaning in our post-event lives. The word leader is a specific title with authority and responsibility. The word team denotes a leader working with the group members who have specific task activity assignments. Ideally, every team member will have accepted `personal responsibility for group and team goals and services. Group and task leaders will share the same types of responsibilities, and all gain their authority from the willingness of the group members to follow the task leaders directions.

DECISION A: Who is the Leader?

Before you can decide who those persons need to be, you will need to know without any doubts or maybes, exactly who is the leader, and that you are indeed their group leader, and why and how you emerged as teh leader.

Quite often you may sincerely wish you could appoint an immediate replacement. Good luck! Every day you will need to be subconsciously renewed and accepted as the group leader.

Every group will need an activity needs awareness process and will need strong intra-group communication concerning progress. In a large group, you might even appoint a group historian.

There are proven standards of experience and determinedness that every group leader needs to have or develop so as to be able to provide the necessary “Decisions Of Survival”- DOS. These are the many daily action decisions, generated by your activity needs awareness process results, that will govern your group’s efforts and your successes. The “DOS” is our new communication concept generated by our family’s need to have a regular and dependable method of recalling the necessary, and often changing events and tasks of the day. Within the daily routines of our post-event environments, each DOS can be equally important to the continuing struggles of Every-Day survival. Our “DOS” parameters are governed by these three specific conditions: #1-time, #2-task and #3- target.

#1- Timing and scheduling are always very important. Time is a fleeting but renewable commodity. Labor started late can seldom be completed on time.

#2- Tasking orientation is at best a singular entity. Excessive multi tasking often leaves the critical elements of timely planning and clear usable instructions, unknown, undone, and unrewarding.

#3- Targeting a specific situation, a specific problem, a specific mission assignment, generally results in better communications, better follow- up, and definitely better results. Allowing unexpected additional secondary goals or missions into the planned path to success causes deaths and failures.


Yes, there will be potentially life-taking (“killing time”) decisions to be made and accepted by the group. These decisions, made in advance of necessity, will save lives and enable survival. Failure in any of the three can cost lives, the lives of the people you sent into the darkness of the night, into the killing time. The people you chose to be your group security team, people who trusted you with their lives and the futures of their families. The ones you knew to be the right force at the right time for the specific mission that the group needed to be a successful endeavor, who volunteered to follow your lead, people who trusted you. These are the people who will have left families behind in your care, some may not return, except in a body bag. We must leave no one behind, alive or dead. The group needs to know and agree that we leave no one behind. Families need to put their fallen at rest. Post-event, we will stand together as an extended family, or we will fall as a divided mob.

Yes, it is very probable. Post-event, there will be life-threatening and life-taking events. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance, and saves lives.

Ask yourself these questions. Who will you need to be? Who must you become? Who can you trust? Who will live? Who will lead? How will you lead your group through this time of passage into the new world of zero functioning infrastructure, zero available hospital services, zero Internet resources, zero professionals from the pre-event society?

Leadership Qualities

What are the qualities of leadership and skills needed?
 Trustworthiness is always the number one quality above all others. The needed leadership qualities include personal honesty, integrity, and especially the ever challenging ability to both lead and delegate. The attributes of post-event leadership are simple but very important.

In no particular order, we can look for honesty, decisiveness, communication skills, people management skills, research skills, strong listening habits. These are just a few of the more basic and generally accepted leadership attributes. As a potential leader will you need to be an expert at any or all these items? No! Of course not! The appointed specific task leaders, who will be answering only to you will be responsible for forming teams with the specific requisite skills.

It is a New World in the morning. You will be in the new world of your group being surrounded and watched by useless whining slugs and thieves. The new world where young children are often considered to be property to be bought and sold by the night people who would rather steal than to work. They will be the strangers who visit and smile at you as they count your group size and look for weak positions in your group security planning. Practice 24/7 operational security (OPSEC). They will be watching you for a security lapse.

Begin qualifying yourself as the group leader. How will the group know you will be a good leader? Great question, the answer is so very simple and yet so very obvious. Start leading! A good start is to make a short list of the most immediate short term chores. Then start talking about organizing group activities led by experienced individuals accepting responsibility for these most necessary tasks. Just start leading! Enable the willing individuals in the process of becoming a unified group to start by allowing you to volunteer them for a task..


A visible written list that has the content tasks, numbered with a very visible black marker pen, has the look of authority and shouts of your knowledge and dependability.

Limit the number of items on this first list to whatever will fit easily on just one side of the page. On your post-event day one, seeing two sides of a task page, can be intimidating and cause undue concern. Keep the list simple and visually small. They will have not yet acclaimed you as their leader. Give them time to feel that you are already doing a good job.

Simply telling them you are the leader is selling and they are not going to be buying. Often you will find that by showing the group that you can lead and will help them to help themselves to actually be safe and secure, they will then respond with a positive attitude about you. They tell you that you are the leader they will trust. That small list with large lettered bold print in your hand can be your universal symbol of accepted leadership responsibility. It can easily become your ever visible sign of authority to speak for them as their leader. Always have a task list handy!

Some Possible Communication Options we suggest is that you can use “verbiage” similar to the following in your effort to assign group members to the various necessary tasks.. However, whatever words work well for you will be your best words.

EXAMPLE: “Our short task list is important and it says that we need to do a simple inventory of both the food items and the medicine items we have available to share within our group in an emergency. We need a one-time volunteer to do that and write up the two lists. It will not be overly difficult. We have paper and pencils available for you. We need someone who has some of that type of experience. Please speak up and volunteer for this necessary chore?”

A failure to wait for their answers / responses often shows that you have a lack of respect for them and little concern for their participation.


Note these simple and yet powerful moving words of command: NEED – DO – SHARE – MAKE – TYPE – SPEAK – VOLUNTEER – NECESSARY – CHORE – TASK.

It is always wise to know in advance what you are going to say and to know why it is important. Select “your ” specific words that “you” want to emphasize to make ” your” needed points. Do not fail to end your comments with individual / team recognition(s) and encouragement. The simple comment that “paper and pencil are available” eliminates unspoken concerns and and many questions. It quickly demonstrates your competence at preparation. Make sure it’s true, well in advance! Should no one speak up to volunteer, go for your plan B, that other page of more pointed types of wordage. Something like the following example, as your fall back wording, can often generate strong results:

“I must have asked the wrong way, folks, let me try again. These are both very important items, and we need to get them done quickly so we will know how to continue to deal successfully with our situation.”


Can we get two or three one time volunteers, folks with even just a little experience, who will help each other, and who will let me help them?” When asking for volunteers, remember to speak in a supportive tone and to show positive body language.

Open hands, slightly raised, can indicate that you are not hiding anything from them. Open hands can show your trustworthiness. Be trustworthy, honest, and fair at all times. When speaking to a group, regardless of size, maintain positive eye contact, slowly looking from side to side and front to rear, always returning back to the front center.

Your positive eye contact often conveys a feeling to the group that you “trust them.” They need that feeling of security.

Project a visible positive attitude , speak clearly and just a little slowly. Demonstrate self-confidence in your stance. Always be willing to listen to every comment. Always allow responses to be completed before answering. Demonstrate to them that you trust and respect them – silently!


Moving on to the pros and cons of the process of selecting a security team leader person;
1st – Follow this ancient proven rule. Be Quick To Go Slow!!

2nd – After a group meeting, interview in private with a few trusted associates being your working interview partners. Backup questions and supporting opinions are always valuable. During the after meeting interview it is vital, and very necessary, to talk candidly about personal weapons experience, and the highly probable need for a “killing situation”.

In the regularly scheduled group settings, which are usually not a voting situation, a question of the selection of a person for the task of being responsible for area security will generally prompt a discussion of both the need for the task and what the job description will be.


From these secondary discussion topics should come pertinent comments that may lead you to an ideal candidate. Security experience in both police and military leadership positions will be a valued asset.

Unfortunately, “Rent a Cop” unarmed big store experience is not a qualifier for security team leader. Usually, airport federal TSA work is usually of little value, but it should never be an automatic disqualifier.
PRIOR to an “event” these jobs were necessary, AFTER the event they are useless. Still, we will need to confirm TSA verbalized work history with pointed questions, but only in private and after the meeting. When there are multiple possible candidates, ask them to stay after the meeting for a conversation about the task responsibilities..

When your task leadership / membership selections have been made, make a simple announcement and ask for any “seriously dissenting” opinions. Never ask for an approval vote, remembering always that the “Specific Task” team leader selection process is never a popularity contest.

Thinking outside the box ability is very important. Consider this as an excellent example of a simple “out of the box“ visual method of tight security within the normal language of a hospital or local clinic. This simple door signage is designed to totally stop an unwanted entry. The following powerful, and yet very simple, door sign would read as follows:


The staffers who would know that it is a false warning are not likely to be a security risk and would confirm the facts before their entry.

3rd – Your best likely team leader candidate would be experienced in people management in a working place environment where people error corrections were part of the job. They would have fired someone. Confirm how the task leader candidate processed the difficult situations where a fellow employee had to be fired. In our post-event world task assignment changes will be necessary and the newly replaced “old guy” will still be there in your group every day.

4th – During the group discussion concerning the various team leader assignments, plant the questions you feel need to be raised among your most trusted members, just in case they are omitted. Use a prearranged signal to ask the needed question. Youth are likely to be a strong deterrent to selection based on a probable lack of experience, but do confirmation questioning.

As a personal example, my active military experience was a four year span in a non combat era with at best only minimal management experience. I was a crewman in the 25th Infantry Division Artillery HQ Commo Section doing important daily repetitive communications work, followed by two years as an army base telephone central office operations repairman, but again, not a leader, not a people manager.

In March of 1962, I had completed four years that included some highly technical military communication equipment maintenance experience. I found zero follow-up civilian employment opportunities due to being deemed to be too young at 21. The pertinent qualification and experience questions you put to a task candidate will greatly benefit the group members as well as helping the leadership to select a qualified task team leader.

5th – During your group meetings / leadership discussions / selection interviews – never fail to ask this forever timely critical question, “Does everyone understand that question?” Failure to ask that could lead to a disaster.

Successful group leadership is about enabling, about promoting, about enlightening, about protecting, about finding solutions to problems, about striving to show members that there is good reason to be hopeful concerning their future.

Successful group leadership is always about working every day to create a stronger better tomorrow for today’s children.


In a nutshell, here are some parameters of leadership:

  • Group leadership is never about me.
  • Group leadership is always about enabling members.
  • Group leadership is never about self promotion.
  • Group leadership is always about serving the needs of others.
  • Group leadership is never about getting vengeance.
  • Group leadership is always about living an example of love.
  • Group leadership is never about ending a meeting on time.
  • Group leadership is always about following a visible written agenda.
  • Group leadership is never about getting extra perks and privileges.
  • Group leadership is always about being the last person to eat.

6th – In many post-event situations the group leader should not endeavor to become fully qualified in every subordinate task activity.

Additionally, to be successful, the group leader must learn to trust the group members, and the various task team leaders, to get their assigned tasks completed on time and successfully.

It is important that you, as the group leader, lead by your personal example and without intrusive micro-management. That effort may well prove to be the your most important leadership responsibility and without doubt, can be your most difficult personal task.


Truly successful group leaders will always accept their specific responsibility to “personally” provide meaningful and positive opportunities for the youth to learn to be trusted productive members.
The youth will, when given genuinely necessary tasks, often prove themselves to be thoughtful, cooperative, and creatively inventive.

The youth will and can learn to be trustworthy leaders and loyal followers. The youth will perform as well as they are taught, allowed to work and are honestly supported by their peers, mentors, and leadership.

The youth will respond to their leaders demonstrated trust and respect, and especially to tasking challenges and opportunities to learn to lead.

Teach the youth, by your example.


  1. Folks, look to the Scouting program. It is good to see young girls competing with the boys in marksmanship. Leadership training (with reverence to God) is inherent. All you ex-military (and others interested), involve yourself for the good of this country.

    1. I hope that you’re not endorsing the damage done to the Girl Scouts by a Boy Scout leadership that decided that the best way to fill the depleted Boy Scout ranks was to open the organization to girls.

      While not exactly the same, of course, the Boy Scouts’ efforts remind me of the Left’s efforts to replace the loss of Democrats with illegal aliens.

    2. All due respect, but are you kidding? Ladies and gentlemen, keep your children away from the scouts at all costs, as they have acquiesced to the left and it’s cohorts of sexual deviants, perverts, and homosexuals. There is nothing to be offered there any longer.

  2. We are incorporating the principals of the Incident Command System or ICS as our leadership and organizational structure. ICS used by first responders is also the organization used by the military as well. In ICS you have four sections – operations, planning, logistics and finance/admin. In the army operations is designated as either S3 or G3, planning or Intelligence is S2/G2, logistics is S4/G4 and finance/admin is S1/G1. With ICS there are a number of forms that are used to develop a plan and insure that the logistics are available to carry out and sustain the missions. Training is the system can be found on line at FEMA’s emergency management institute (EMI).

    One of the things I like to use is person-job-fit. It basically is looking at the task/job and then the person and deciding if they fit. Sometimes I don’t focus on the persons training in an area but more to their soft skills such as their ability to learn quickly, good decission making skills, etc.

    A good leader KNOWS the capabilities of his/her people and should not be asking for volunteers from the large group but instead ask the people that are capable of doing the task/mission. Doing this in the larger group also let’s others know that that the people you are asking have certain abilities which is important for future leaders to know. Which takes us to the next point- a good leader is training his/her replacement.

    I have had the opportunity to work with some large “big box” store loss prevention personnel and they do have a very valuable skill set for post TEOTWAWKI – they are trained observers of humans. They might not be able to lead a squad but I would want their opinion on people, especially people new to the area.

  3. In their own mind, everyone sees themselves as the leader. The author may have already planned this, but I would like to see an article where the reader is not the leader.

    What do you do when some more powerful entity asks for some of your resources? How about when they demand them? Do you have the force and numbers necessary to depose the other side? Where do you draw the lines: a new religion, noblise oblige, forced military drafts of your young people, etc.? In the olden days it was common for the big bad to board members of the lesser noble households as leverage, what are you going to do when they take your grandkids to live at their capital?

    All of these examples come from history and are not idle what-ifs.

    1. Vagus,

      I believe there are different types and levels of leadership. As a husband I lead the household (well okay shared leadership). As a father I lead. At work I lead, in our community I lead in a different way by engaging in various civic issues. Leading doesn’t necessarily mean being in-charge. I have a shared leadership role at work where my boss (we both have worked at the place for 18 years and came up through the ranks together) consults me on many issues. He counts on me to be his “loyal opposition” and not a “yes” man. When I interview people I often ask when and how they decide to lead verses follow, since good leaders have to be good followers at times too.
      As to your question about somebody asking for your resources and what will you do? Well Uncle Sam ask for your “resources” every pay day and we all “voluntarily” pay them. If we put all our resources where some barbarian can see/find them all we have been reading and learning from the advice in SurvivalBlog – i.e. Putting all your eggs in one basket and not have plan B and C.
      I agree with your historical examples and that is why we need to have a good plan to expand our group post-TEOTWAWKI. Yes taking people in is another mouth to feed but it is also, if done right, another person with skills to help grow the new community. And with that new community will come a collective sense of the need to defend from others what they have built out of the rubble. Effective leadership of a post-TEOTWAWKI community will not be done by one person but rather a group. Avoid anyone who wants to make ALL the decission because no one bats 1,000.

      1. Thank you for the reasoned and well thought out response, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. The crux of my earlier comment is: I see and read from many people who talk about turning away their second cousin because he doesn’t bring anything to the table, and in general planning as if WROL means no higher authority or justice, and I don’t mean biblical. To get to back to the point, to me the issue is not how to choose a tactical commander, but how to react when a guy shows up and tells you he’s your tactical commander and he expects you to campaign during the summer season. I find that to be the much more likely scenario, given the entirety of recorded human history.

        In short, I dislike logical fallacies and motivated reasoning, which is why I often attack sacred cows.

  4. Outstanding description. It is a difficult topic. There are many books, but it would hard to find a better depiction of who would be good leaders for the future we anticipate. Refinement can be made, but the core of what is constitutes a potentially good leader is here. However, the group must accept them as their leader… The most qualified may not be identified, or accepted. Often those who are power hungry, or authoritarian types with loud voices, or popular get the job. We do not want those persons. True leaders understand and accept the burden of responsibility, and does not necessarily seek authority. A true potential leader may seek others who might be better qualified than themselves, before taking the lead. They must be willing always be to the first to face danger, and the last to eat. They must alway be a servant. It is job that one would seek only if there were no better choices available. The burden would be crushing and exhausting. No one in their right mind would want such a job.

    Most folks do not have a military background. In some cases, it might be best to take a vote for whom would be a group leader. Chairmanships can be designated in the same way. Certain persons are better qualified as leaders for specialized tasks. If the group is hopefully large enough, a dedicated security team should have a team leader who is especially physically fit, and who will serve the group.

    Life is getting in the way, so I’ll wrap it up. Integrity is the single most important characteristic to look for. They must be also be able to be decisive under pressure. In my book, the group leader should also be a Christian. Without that you’ve got nothing.

    The best You Tuber that I am aware of on how to organize and perform security operations is SouthernPrepper 1.. Security will be job one. Without solid leadership, however organized, the ability of a group to maintain adequate security would likely be marginally effective, if effective at all.

  5. At the age of 14 I looked at the Scouts vs Civil Air Patrol. I went with the CAP. I learned camping, communications, first aid (EMT at 19 yrs old), search & rescue, land navigation, and most important Teamwork and Leadership. Let’s not forget I learned to fly there getting my Private Pilot License at 17 yrs old (11th Grade in High School). This set me up for a tour in the US ARMY Special Forces (Green Beret) as an A-Team Medic, then ten years in law enforcement while building my flight time, and finally hiring/retiring with American Airlines (1988-2018) as a Captain on the Airbus 321. During this time I became a prepper. I have nothing against the Scouts of the old days, but I’m not so sure about the Scouts of today. It seems more politics and less common sense and mission confusion has cluttered the membership of the once grand BSA. That’s my point of view.

  6. Teach the youth, by your example. Excellent advice. Also the bullet points. Succinct and pertinent.

    I hasten to add, consult with trusted subordinates. In the Marine Corps, we had leadership broken down to a minute level. Fire team leader answers to squad leader who answers to platoon commander, who answers to company commander. Teamwork was stressed.

    You might also seek a canny elder to watch your back for those who might crave your position. Those who smile to your face and plot behind your back. There are many ways to address such behavior. The elders and allies will offer approaches appropriate to the circumstances.

    Carry on

  7. The MOST important trait for a “Leader” is to SET THE EXAMPLE. . . You don’t have to be the smartest, the strongest, the fastest or even the Best, what you have to do is get your hands dirty, from time to time!!!! A good leader should never seek approval or recognition. To quote the movie Braveheart “Men don’t follow Titles, they follow bravery”

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