First Flight did imply Archer came up through the program as a pilot. Though yeah, as lacking as he was in areas of diplomacy and common sense at times, you really got the feeling the only reason he got the job was plain old nepotism, since his dad built the engine.
You'd think though, if Archer wasn't qualified to do complex diplomatic negotiations they'd send an ambassador or something who was along with the crew though as an adviser to help out with that. Though as you mention, his track record for listening to T'Pol wasn't that great... why should he listen to one of his own people?
It was great that they showed the crew evolving and becoming more accustomed to deep space encounters... but at the same time, the lack of planning was just ugh... at times. NASA meticulously plans -everything- with contingencies for every conceivable scenario. While naturally you can't anticipate every situation by the nature of space exploration, but that really never seemed to excuse the fly by the seat of the pants approach Archer took, just lunging forward into any given situation.