One of the [many] appealing things about The West Wing was taking the leader out of the focus.
But much less than was intended. If you look at the pilot, Martin Sheen doesn't even show up until the final minutes. The original intent was that the focus would be on the staff with the President only making occasional appearances; that's why it was called The West Wing
and not The Oval Office
. But Sheen stole the show so much in his brief appearance that he ended up becoming central to the show instead of the mostly offscreen presence he was originally meant to be.
That's true, but even as it was, certain episodes such as the season two finale notwithstanding, the overwhelming majority of screen time was still spent on the subordinates, rather than on Bartlet and his family.