Episode 132 S4-8
Trusting in Group Leadership
Battle for the South Ch 8
Erika and Vince are introduced to the leader of the Texas Free State in the Battle for the South adventure. They leave the meeting with mixed feelings about this leader. Here to discuss the need for trusting in the leader of your group is Ellen Kerr, Leading Seaman in the Australian Royal Navy.
Trust will be hard in an SHTF situation. Your closest friends may quickly turn into enemies. We know this is true because even now-a-days the majority of assaults and sexual abuse is conducted by people the victim knew and may have trusted.
A lot of times we focus on male leadership but what about female leadership? Women can be just as respected in leadership positions. There are differences between male and female leadership styles though. Ellen identifies two types of women leaders: those without children and those with children. In general if a woman has children and a career, it may have taken her more time to get where she is. Having children means maternity leave and the woman's peers may move up quicker. Generally women with children see their crew as family and treat them as such: loving them and supporting their needs but also firmly correcting unwanted behavior. Women without children may be at the same position as their male counter parts that entered their career at about the same time. These women tend to be harder women with little compassion. You have to have thick skin to make the hard leadership decisions.
Whether you are male or female a respected leader shares the same qualities. They have found a balance between being hard and being compassionate. They need to be able to make tough decisions and not go back on their decision. They need to be mindful of the needs of their group and open to their ideas.
If a leader loses the trust of his or her group it is very hard to earn back. Once your group members are burnt they may not ever come back. A group member that is not related to other members of the group may not have a hard time leaving. However, if we are talking about a family group you have to trust in time to regain trust. A strong family unit can learn to forgive as time goes on and the trust is slowly rebuilt.
Women are sometimes more trustworthy leaders because in general it takes a woman longer to earn the trust of her group than it does her male counterpart. Once the trust is gained it is not likely that the woman will discard it, unless under extreme duress. As time progresses on hopefully this distinction between male and female leadership will decrease but you have to recognize the playing field in order to lead effectively. The group must be based upon teamwork. Often times training together helps to develop a stronger bond rapidly.
When there is a group member within the group that doesn't trust the leader it could destroy the group cohesion like poison in the water. What to do with the person who is not in line with the rest depends on the circumstances and why they are upset. Ellen suggests having a forum with the group that does not include the leader, discuss the problems and possible solutions. Then take the issue to the leader and explain what is going on. The negative attitude or behavior needs to be squashed out immediately.
When SHTF you are going to have to put your faith in someone and learn to take orders. If you don't trust them, they will not trust you. You'll end up getting the worst jobs and resources may not be spent on you if you are in trouble.
There are a few elements of your character that you can work on now to make you a better leader in the future. Your ability to communicate and listen. This applies to both leaders and followers. Make sure you have common goals. The focus of the group needs to be cohesive. You need to allow your group to voice their opinions and not just listen to them but have the wisdom to know when their ideas may work better than yours. You need to have the ability to think on your feet and rapidly change plans for the safety of your group. Finally you need the ability to keep moving forward even when all seems lost. Your group will rely upon you for motivation and you can't be the Debbie Downer.
The Changing Earth Series
Born in 1980 in Australia, Ellen Louis Kerr, has been married for 16 years to her wonderful spouse, Brian. They have two daughters Miriam and Emma. Plus, 2 spoiled cats, 2 ducks, 1 budgie and two lizards. (What is a budgie you ask? A budgie is a native Australian Bird short for budgerigar. They are a popular pet in Australia.)
Ellen joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2003 and served for fourteen years. She has earned the rank of Leading Seaman and is an Electronic Warfare Director at sea. When she's on the shore she works in the field of electronic intelligence. Ellen was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2005 as part of the allied task force on board HMAS Darwin for which she is now recognized as a veteran. She has also deployed to and took part in numerous exercises in New Zealand, Hawaii and South East Asia.
In her spare time she practices Hapkido and works on staying prepared for whatever may come our way. Ellen enjoys camping, fishing, shooting and four wheeling. She loves SIFI and end of the world genre material. Her favorite TV show is Firefly. She loves her ducks and motorbikes.