Smith was a bit of a dictatorial leader. He had his own view of how the settling of Jamestown should occur and had no trouble ignoring those people who were his superiors. Although he was not the President of the colony (the colonists did not like him), he took it upon himself to make moves against the Native Americans, particularly Powhatan's tribe. The other English settlers wanted as little to do with the Native Americans as possible - they recognized that the "noble savages" really consisted of well-established tribes with their own cultures and tensions between each other. Smith felt that a relationship should be established, and believed he could manipulate that relationship to his benefit.
In many ways, Smith was right. Ignoring the Native Americans was not going to make them ignore the settlers. Smith was right, too, when he later intervened to stop the settlement being abandoned by English "gentlemen". However, Smith consistently put himself into harm's way through his actions. His neck was often - literally - put on the chopping block. It is as much his ingenuity as outside influences that saved him. It is hard to argue that such a reckless and unpredictable character could be a good leader.