The sh'liach tzibbur - the leader of the community's prayers - faces a real challenge.
On one hand, the sh'liach tzibbur represents the community, and his prayers should be calibrated to match the community's needs. If people are in a rush to get to work, or if they are not accustomed to extended singing, or if it's Pesach night and they want to get home to start the Seder, he should not take his time and embark upon his own personal journey of spiritual and musical discovery, lest he frustrate the people and cause disgrace to the davening as they talk or leave. [Of course, rabbis are often cynical regarding cantorial song; see my 2009 post, "Cantors Behaving Badly", for an example.] And the reverse is true: if people are into singing, or they embrace a longer davening, he should not impose his own haste upon their pace.
On the other hand, the sh'liach tzibbur is still a private citizen, with a right to his own davening, and his own connection with Gd. Particularly when the sh'liach tzibbur is not a volunteer, but rather he agrees to lead services because no one else is available, he should not be denied the right to his own spirituality. If we may exercise an imagined right to impose upon him to lead, by what right do we remove his personal prayer?
And then there is a third hand: Perhaps the sh'liach tzibbur should be viewed as a leader, a source of inspiration, his music and his passion bearing the community aloft to spiritual heights even when they are not, initially, of such a mindset? Is he obligated to do so? And ought we to let ourselves go, abandoning our personal baggage and adopting the mood of the leader?
What do you think?