We all like to think leaders all command respect and everyone just follows them because they're the leader. Bullshit. One technique, employed by MANY leaders is being a total fucking asshole, at least part of the time.
Yes, and the result it gets is that those who can, leave, and you're left with those desperate enough to put up with you taking your personal problems out on them. And even they will do their best to hide anything that might set you off from you, so you'll get the winning combo of bottom of the barrel workers and bad situational awareness.
You don't get respect by acting like an asshole. You get treated like the crazy person you are.
If you're coding GCC, maybe you might at least sub-consciously think "boy, I better not release utter shit, or I'll catch some serious shit from that asshole Linus Torvalds... what a cock gobbling asshole that Torvalds is".
Or you'll just start deleting messages from him without bothering to read them. If there's a serious bug, a person who isn't an asshole will report it eventually. Even if you're getting paid and must open the message, there are other bugs not submitted by assholes, and guess which - or rather, who - gets priority?
Is that the ONLY way to run an organization? Probably not, but as another thread points out, it's a common pattern of effective leaders.
It's a common pattern for people who get power, even through pure luck. Lots of people only behave because of peer pressure, and when that pressure eases a little, they lose control and degenerate into schoolyard bullies. That doesn't mean their behaviour was the reason of their success - especially since they only start manifesting it after gaining power - rather than a personality flaw that makes them less effective.
Compare this article about the rampant use of cocaine in Silicon Valley. Is the cocaine abuse there the reason to Silicon Valley's success, or a symptom?