Leaders Should Be Muses.

Can we talk about what makes a good leader?

I've been asked quite a bit by recruiters and former colleagues in the past few weeks about what I want to do next in my career. I've given it a lot of thought, but still have an open-ended sense of what I want to do exactly.
Do I want to focus on search? Do I want to work at an agency again? What about a start-up? What about just doing consulting? Would I be willing to go back to a company I worked for before? Would I be interested in a digital leadership role that wasn't specific to search? What about a social media role? What about coming on board and building out a digital newsroom at a different agency? Do I want to lead a team? Do I want to work independently? Do I want to work with clients? Or do I want to focus on the client-side? Am I willing to take a full-time role in Canada? Would I consider moving back to NYC? When do you think you'll be ready for your next role?
The answer to the last two questions are, "No. I'm in Boston. I love it here." And, "Not sure when I'll be ready. Just taking my time." But as for the rest... I could see myself doing any of it and being happy. Because I've already done all of that, and enjoyed it. But the one thing I absolutely see myself doing in my next role is being a leader.

Hands down. It's what I'm great at.

But just as I've had recruiters and people pinging me lately, I've also had former team members reaching out for various reasons. And a lot of the talk has centered around "leadership" within their companies, or companies they are considering joining. And these conversations... They're atrocious.

I'm horrified by things people are telling me they have been told by direct managers or upper-level managers ahead of them. Including the following:
"You're over paid." 
"You're too young to be in that role, despite the $$$$$$$$$$ you've brought on and great reputation you have." 
"This is the way it is... You have to work only this way, because this is how we do it. This is the only process." 
"It's not my fault your team underspent the budget. You have to take the fall." 
"You're not allowed to talk to the client. You have to tell me everything you know, and I will talk to the client." 
"You have to stay late... It's not my job to help you."
None of this, sadly, is shocking. I'm horrified that this is coming from the mouths of leadership - I always will be. Because the most important role of a leader is to inspire.

If you can't be a muse to your teams, you don't deserve to be in charge.

Leaders cultivate an atmosphere of passion for the projects/products/goals with which they're working. They rally troops to care about what they are doing every single day. They listen and provide sound logic for decisions being made/handed down within the organization, and still find a way to keep people inspired. Not by being the "rah-rah" cheerleader type necessarily... But, as I have found in my own experience, by being open and listening to their teams. And providing a sense that the company is committed to seeing them succeed.

 If you can't get your team to see that you are rooting for them and want them to to succeed, they aren't going invest the time or interest in their job. It will just be a paycheck for them, one they will collect till a bigger paycheck comes along.

And with the way things work in (at least) the digital marketing world... A bigger paycheck is always around the corner.

UPDATE:
Just going to quickly clarify a little, as someone got upset.

I have not been talking to people I was mostly recently employed with, so the comments shared with me above do not reflect the company I just left. They are from people I worked with at previous jobs from throughout the past 10 years.

Just in case anyone else tries to leave an "anonymous" type of comment.  (Wink Wink!) XOXO - The Missus