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Important details - Denese Rodgers

I was searching for solace and reference when I came across a cool web site, "Debating Ethically."

The topic was, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." It went on to say that, "Herman Goering (one of the top-dog Nazi leaders) explained how the Nazis used fear in the Second World War and how it applies ...

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."

The movie "Spider-Man" back in 2002 had the great quote: "With great power comes great responsibility."

This is the same way that gossip works, just not always for the greater good. And leaders are not necessarily those in official government positions. A leader can be anyone who puts themselves in a position of knowledge or authority.

In her awesome book, "Bad Leadership," author Barbara Kellerman writes, "The leader may or may not hold a formal position of authority; position is not the point. Rather, it is the leader as protagonist that matters. ... A leader chooses a particular course of action and then in some way gets others to go along."

The element that escapes most of us is that leaders are only as effective as their followers. It is a bit like the argument that a tree falling in the woods only makes a sound if someone is there to hear it fall. Gossip feeds on insecurities, innuendo and the dark shadows of supposed conspiracy. Rumors only thrive when they are given credence without question.

Ms. Kellerman goes on, in her book, to provide a recipe for how followers can strengthen their role and live up to their own responsibilities. She includes the following recommendations: Empower yourself; be loyal to the whole and not to a single individual; be skeptical; take a stand, and pay attention.

Sitting in a waiting room one day, I saw snippets of the movie, "Infamous," about Truman Capote. I only saw one or two scenes and made the mistake of thinking I would hate the movie.

The movie came in the mail the other day, and I decided to give it a second shot. It was a wonderful, compassionate, human portrayal and I was moved several times by the amazing woven fabric of the two men's burdens as the story unfolded. But I would have never had that experience if I had maintained my original and only half-informed impression. And the magic was in all those scenes that a mere glance did not reveal.

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.