The Walking Dead, Survival Rule Of The Week: The Leaders We Follow

Rick and Negan. The Walking Dead. AMC
Rick and Negan. The Walking Dead. AMC /

In a zombie apocalypse, a group’s survival requires solid leadership. This week’s Walking Dead showed us what that leadership might look like.

It’s Election Day! The day we Americans will decide who will lead our country for the next four years!

With that in mind, and with Sunday’s The Walking Dead giving us a much better picture of Negan’s leadership of The Saviors, I thought this would be a good time to address something that is absolutely vital to a group’s survival in a zombie apocalypse: Leadership.

Good leadership can create a strong, smart, resourceful, and prepared collection of survivors, who can withstand run-ins with trouble pretty well. Bad leadership can take an otherwise decent group of survivors and make them disorganized, rebellious, vile, or thoroughly unprepared to deal with the threats they’ll face.

I think, the best way to lay this out is by naming four things you should look out for in whoever leads your group, even if that’s you.

1) Delegation Of Responsibilities

Austin Amelio as Dwight, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Austin Amelio as Dwight, The Walking Dead — AMC /

One thing you’re going to need once you establish some kind of base in the zombie apocalypse is delegate the responsibilities of your group. You’ll need supplies, security, food, and you need to determine who’s going to do those things.

A good leader will find those in their group best suited to whatever jobs the group needs done, and leave them to it.

Even if people in your group aren’t terribly skilled, a good leader will ensure that they learn from those who are, so, in the event something happens, there’s someone skilled enough in that job to carry on. Furthermore, if needed, rather than just sit back and tell people what to do, a good leader will show their group how to what needs to be done.

A group will need to get things done, and good leader will ensure that everyone does what’s needed and knows how to do it.

2) Good Rapport With Group Members

Austin Amelio as Dwight, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Austin Amelio as Dwight, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, The Walking Dead — AMC /

A good leader of a group of survivors has good rapport with the other members of his group, or at least, with the upper echelons of it.

Whether they’re family, friends, trusted allies, or simply the person best suited to an assigned task, a good leader has a good relationship with the other members of his group. A relationship based on respect, admiration, and trust.

In having such a relationship, the leader ensures that he maximizes the effectiveness of his group’s efforts. A group that’s respected by its leader works effectively for that leader.

3) Has The Loyalty Of Their Group

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, The Walking Dead — AMC /

Along with having good rapport, a good leader has the loyalty of their group. A leader who can’t guarantee the loyalty of his group probably won’t be leader for long.

What a good group needs to survive is cohesion, often times, that cohesion is built on the loyalty its members have for the leader.

Furthermore, a leader is confident in their actions when they feel assured of the loyalty of the rest of their group. If they know the rest of the group backs their plays, they will act in the strongest manner possible because they won’t fear being usurped.

A less confident leader will be more cautious and reserved, for fear that bold action may run the risk of being overthrown by disgruntled members of their group who disagree with their decisions. This shouldn’t be a problem for a good leader, so long as they have…

4) Good Leadership Style

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Austin Amelio as Dwight, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, Austin Amelio as Dwight, The Walking Dead — AMC /

How does your leader govern? Do they govern by respect? Do they govern by secrecy? Or, do they govern by fear?

A good leader can govern by one or all of these, but, generally, good one don’t govern by fear.

Why? Well, if you recall my earlier statements, I said a good leader has a good rapport with and the loyalty of his group. But, if the leader rules by fear, than, neither of those are real.

Rapport is an illusion if one rules by fear. That “rapport” is based on the subordinate hoping to avoid the wrath of the leader.

They can’t trust the leader, as they may not know what precisely will earn their rage. Nor will such a leadership style earn the greatest effort. Fear doesn’t garner a desire to go the extra mile, but only the willingness to go the bare minimum. Why kill yourself for someone who’ll just as soon do it themselves?

Austin Amelio as Dwight, The Walking Dead -- AMC
Austin Amelio as Dwight, The Walking Dead — AMC /

Now, rapport’s one thing, but…what about loyalty? Well, how loyal do you think someone would be to someone who they thought might kill them at any time?

…Not very much.

When you rule by fear, that creates an environment ripe for dissent. If they fear their leader, even those who appear loyal, may simply bide their time until they feel comfortable stabbing them in the back.

Even those who are loyal, may not remain so if they are made to fear for their lives. If you’re a leader and threaten or even appear to threaten, even trusted bodyguards, they’ll stab you in the back.

This, ultimately is the problem with ruling by fear: It doesn’t inspire loyalty…it inspires contempt.

So, those are the things to look out for in a good leader in the zombie apocalypse. You want someone who can delegate responsibility, has the respect and loyalty of their group, and, doesn’t rule by fear. Get those things, and you might just last longer than those who don’t.

Next: The Walking Dead, Survival Rule Of The Week: Making Friends

And that’s our survival rule of the week!! Hopefully, it will help give you that mental edge that will prove so crucial once the dead start eating everyone.

If you like this and want to find out more rules to survive the zombie apocalypse, why not pick up a copy of my book, The Rules: A Guide To Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse! You can get it on Kindle here and on iTunes here!