Mr Gove, who has worked with Mr Cummings for a decade, said Mr Johnson and his team valued Mr Cummings "real originality" when developing policy ideas.
Tory MPs have expressed their frustration over Mr Johnson's refusal to sack Mr Cummings after his 200 mile journey to Co Durham when Britons' movement was restricted during the coronavirus lockdown hit the party's popularity in the polls.
However, in an interview on Times Radio with former Tory politician Michael Portillo, Mr Gove lifted the veil on the appeal of Mr Cummings to Mr Johnson and his team.
He said: "Dominic has many many skills but there are two skills that he particularly has - blistering honesty and a real originality which are very precious.
"There is a tendency in politics to emulsify the discourse, to honey the words, to allow people sometimes to draw the wrong inference.
"That's never the case with Dom. He is blunt to the Prime Minister and to me and to others, not disrespectful, but honest, and that is helpful."
Mr Gove said that while Mr Cummings was not always right, being an "original" meant that he was "free from groupthink" and "recognises the value of having a dissident voice in the room".
He continued: "There are some in politics who prefer every meeting to essentially be a chorus of approval. The thing with Dom is that he does want to hear the discordant note. He is the Schoenberg of policy composition. And that I think is a good thing."
Mr Gove added: "Those who work with Dom would say, he is a professional. He is courteous to those who are working hard and who are committed, but I think there's a difference between what politicians should learn and what advisers should do.
"The great thing about Dom is that he's not a public facing figure. He doesn't particularly seek or want attention. He just wants to make things work and he's prepared to be direct and in challenging those things he thinks don't work."