Former England captain Mike Brearley told Michael Vaughan that captaincy is all about "people skills" and "finding out what makes people tick" in a special BBC Radio 5 live interview ahead of the Ashes.
The two former England skippers talk captaincy, managing personalities, tactics, Joe Root and Alastair Cook.
Brearley recalls that batsman Geoffrey Boycott needed "encouragement and reassurance - more than you might imagine, especially if he wasn't doing so well".
"I think it's something that took me a long time to learn in general," said Brearley. "Some of the people who seem most confident on the surface aren't always."
Talking about current Test captain Cook, who will lead England into the first Test against Australia at Cardiff on 5 July, Brearley said: "I think Alastair Cook is a leader who is conscientious, he works at it, he's fair-minded to the players.
"The perfect captain does it his own way, but is open to ideas as to how to change, always."
On the chances of Ashes success, Brearley told Vaughan that England must approach the series "expecting to do well".
He added: "You may be up against it, but you've got to think you're as good as the other side and that you can win the series.
"You've got to play as closely as you can to the way you play in county cricket, or even the way you've been playing in the one-day matches."
There will be extensive Ashes coverage on Test Match Special and the BBC Sport website.