Necessary Roles In a Survival Group

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Forming a group of like-minded individuals who are committed to helping one another in the event of a disaster is a great plan.  Many hands make light work and all that.  However, it is important to remember there are some key roles that need to be filled within the group.  It is certainly possible that one person can take on multiple roles.  However, if that’s the case, bear in mind that the loss of that person will result in several roles also being lost.

The Problem Solver

This person is critical when it comes to solving the inevitable issues that crop up, whether the problems are interpersonal or they are physical.  He or she tends to think outside the box and offers solutions that work more often than not.  The Problem Solver often prefers taking action rather than debating an issue ad nauseum, which sometimes is exactly what is needed.

The Jack of All Trades

Often, though not always, this role is fulfilled by the Problem Solver.  The Jack of All Trades is the person who knows a little bit about a lot of things.  He or she is handy with things like carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and mechanics in general.  When the group needs to figure out how to build something, the Jack of All Trades is the person to have on hand.

The Thinker

Akin to the Problem Solver, this person is able to see the big picture and predict far ranging effects of a given course of action.  Where he or she differs from the Problem Solver is that they tend to ruminate over issues rather than wanting to act quickly.  Often, this person is frighteningly intelligent but relatively quiet.

The Manager

He or she is the logistics person.  They are able to figure out the best ways to keep people working and have tasks accomplished efficiently.  The Manager tends to work best when goals are outlined to them and they are told to ensure those goals are met.  Good Managers typically have superior people skills and motivate those with whom they are working.

The Leader

At the head of any successful team is an effective leader.  He or she tends to inspire people and the best ones avoid using fear or force to get people on board.  They will take into account the advice and guidance of others, then make concrete, committed decisions.  Great leaders tend to be born rather than made.  Either a person has this capability or they don’t.

The Joker

This role might not be absolutely crucial to a group’s success but they sure make life a little more fun.  The Joker provides often needed stress relief.  While he or she will likely get on someone’s nerves from time to time, their side remarks and commentary can lighten the mood and allow the Thinkers and Problem Solvers to brainstorm solutions.

The Scout

This role requires the person to be courageous and quick thinking.  He or she will be tasked with exploring the area, either to locate resources or determine threats, perhaps both.  Ideally, the Scout is physically agile and intelligent, able to get in and get out quickly, efficiently, and quietly.

If you have a group already, give some thought as to which group members fill each of these roles.  Whether you have an existing group or are looking to start one, use these roles as a checklist of sorts as you seek out new members.

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Jim Cobb is a disaster preparedness consultant and author. His books include Prepper's Home Defense, The Prepper's Complete Book of Disaster Readiness, and Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide.

6 thoughts on “Necessary Roles In a Survival Group”

  1. How about Nurturer/Healer? Someone who watches out for everyone’s physical and emotional well-being, suggests healthy activities, monitors inventory of food, medical and non-food supplies.

    Or perhaps Spiritual Leader, according to the group’s orientation as a faith community.

  2. protection. although everyone may be trained, some are just better then others.
    your ‘joker’ doesn’t necessarily need to be the class clown. Perhaps someone who is skilled at storytelling (yeah that’s a skill alright)
    I think rather than looking at this from the perspective of trying to find people to fill jobs it should be looked at as what can the people in the group that you are with do? People can surprise when called to rise to a challenge.

  3. Good post, Jean!
    A believe a spiritual leader is necessary in difficult times. They can bring some semblance of peace and unity to a group, talk excitable people down to a level of reasoning, and act as a counselor for those who need someone to vent to without airing their concerns to the entire tribe.

  4. the mediator. in any group of people under stress, conflict will be rampant. someone needs to be able to calm people down and help them resolve problems fairly.

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