He can lead employees or those whom he owns. But he cannot lead colleagues.
Mitt Romney Leadership - Mitt Romney, Leader of Led Men - Esquire
In Massachusetts, he tried to lead the Republican party to a larger presence in the state legislature. It lost seats instead, after which Romney pretty much gave up leading the state entirely, except for a whole passel of vetoes that he cast with 2008 in his eyes that the legislature laughingly overrode. He was as much the passenger as the driver on health-care, and that doesn't matter because he doesn't want to talk about it any more. He tried to lead the Republican party in 2008, and the result was that he was hotly loathed by every one of the other candidates. This time around, he was gifted with more money than several gods, and a Republican primary field that had gone completely to the zoo, and he still wound up being led around on a leash by every crackpot in his base. There is not a single principle that he held while running in Massachusetts that he still maintains today. In his political career, he has shown every sign of someone who does not lead, but is led.
Ah, you say, but what about The Olympics? Well, he made the bobsleds run on time, we can say that for him. But, honestly, converting a festival of international bribery into a celebration of provincial crony capitalism isn't exactly rolling your men up San Juan Hill. Running an Olympics entirely entails having an entire city placed at your disposal for the better part of two years. I attended the L.A. Olympics in 1984 that Peter Ueberroth ran, and I attended the Olympics four years later in the putatively less democratic precincts of Seoul, South Korea. The essential leadership qualities in evidence there were virtually identical.
And therein hangs the point. Willard Romney only has exercised perceptible leadership in those contexts in which his control was virtually absolute — running the Olympics and running Bain Capital. (And even in both of them, he hedged his bets. With the Olympics, he had a boatload of federal money to fall back on and, at Bain, he made sure that his position with the Bain mothership was secure no matter what happened with Bain Capital.) There is more than the whiff of the polite dictator to him; no, you can't see the tax returns, and we will not be talking about that whole Akin business, my good chap. He can "lead" only in those situations in which he can present the counter-argument, "Because I said so, that's why." That may work in the world of private equity, but it doesn't work in arenas where a second-term congressman from Bug Tussle can gum up your whole program, and it sure as hell doesn't work with other sovereign nations. Maybe he is the guy to stand up to Putin. I'd be more confident about that though if, just once, he'd stood up to Rush Limbaugh.