I think Mankiw (who writes an awesome blog by the way) captures what I think is most key about good leaders:
Leadership Change at Harvard
Consider this description of a great, visionary leader:
[He] is a voracious reader of science and history who questions subordinates relentlessly about their projects, she says. “If he respects you, he’ll argue with you. If not, he ignores you,” she says. “If he says, ‘That’s stupid,’ it means he cares” about a project, she adds.
When I read that passage in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, I thought, “Yes, that captures the Larry Summers I know perfectly.”
It wasn’t written about Larry, however. It was written about Bill Gates. Apparently, the personality attributes that work well for an entrepreneur and CEO don’t work nearly as well for a university president.