Leader Development: Thom Merrilin
Thom's maintained a somewhat unobtrusive presence in the background since the leaving Mat and Rand in The Eye of the World. He made an appearance in The Great Hunt, but went off on his own. Now he's roped back in with Mat and starts to showcase his expertise when Mat explains to Thom and Basel that Lord Gaebril intends to have Elayne killed.
"Rumor." Thom rubbed the side of his nose; he seemed to be studying the stones board and talking to himself. "No one can keep rumors from reaching Morgase's ears, and if she hears it strongly enough, she will start to wonder. Rumor is the voice of the people, and the voice of the people often speaks truth. Morgase knows that. There is not a man alive I would back against her in the Game. Love or no love, once Morgase starts examining Gaebril closely, he'll not be able to hide as much as his childhood scars from her. And if she learns he means harm to Elayne" - he placed a stone on the board; it seemed an odd placement at first glance, but Mat saw that in three more moves, a third of Gill's stones would be trapped - "Lord Gaebril will have a most elaborate funeral."
Thom, The Dragon Reborn, p. 464 - 465
Thom has a keen sense for the inner workings of organizations; with a strategic guile to match. Rumor and perception are a fact of life in leading organizations. Understanding how it works can shift the advantage to the leader who can see three or more moves ahead. More importantly, however, is a leader's duty to counter the rumor mill with fact. Depending on the organization and it's culture, this may mean lots of repetition; answering the same question, revisiting the same change proposal, again and again. It can be exhausting; but it can't be ignored, else the issues will fester and magnify, damaging the overall effort.