This is an ageing but decent podcast from back in 2000 (from the Free Library of Philadelphia) where David Gergen – adviser to four United States Presidents – speaks about great leaders.
Gergen makes two broad points. First, what appears to distinguish history’s great leaders and Presidents is a keen understanding of history, which enhances judgment and the capacity to make wise decisions. Winston Churchill, he memorably notes, could see “further forward” because he could look “further back.”
Former US President Richard Nixon will always be remembered by scandal but, according to Gergen, he was a leader who “travelled relentlessly, he learned about other cultures, he learned about their languages, their practices, and what their interests were.”