One of the signs of a great leader is how well they motivate their team and how efficient they are about doing it.
You can’t fake excitement. An inspired leader is able to translate their vision and ideas into genuine excitement within the team that surrounds them. And then an effective leader goes on with their daily business and lets the team do the work. The opposite of micromanagement, a leader that has inspired the troops, and has built a trusted core within the team, is often hard get time with. Because they believe in the leadership of their people, the uber-leader assumes that the job/project/work will get done with little or no additional oversight from them. At that point they are empowering their team to succeed.
On the other hand, if the leader is more a manager than a leader, they may not have the enlistment of the energy and passion of the team. It’s more than walking the talk, it’s about being seen for something deeper than business or profit opportunity, it’s about honest expression of passion.
I recall a manager I once had who appeared bored about leading our group. While it was hard to call them a micromanager, because they were often hard to schedule meetings with, they did not inspire by their actions. More importantly they were not inspired themselves. A job is a job is a job, was the message. Just get it done, report back to me, and don’t ask too many questions.
On the issue of air cover. An inspired leader IS AIR COVER. The faith and energy they put into their vision lends influence and cooperation from other teams and other executives. A “boss-type” manager doesn’t really have time to invest in promoting YOUR projects to upper management. And thus, when silos become the prioritizing factor in workload, the less-inspired-manager’s team will most likely get less priority. And perhaps, if there is enough churn, no priority at all.