I think that a good leader is positive, responsible and consistent. A good leader also needs to know how to communicate, listen and be fun.
A leader needs to be positive so that he/she can set the tone for the environment. An optimistic attitude from a leader can carry over to others. Confidence is contagious; so is the lack of it. Employees mirror the tone that leaders set. So if leaders are positive, optimistic and confident, the employees will mirror it.
A leader also needs to be responsible because when an employee makes a mistake, it is the leader's responsibility to help him or her improve. Employees will never respect a leader who deflects criticism toward the team. Successful leaders think of themselves as "we," not "I." It is a leader's responsibility to ensure that everyone shares in the team's success.
A leader also has to be consistent as flip-flopping between styles confuses employees. Leaders should stick with one style of leadership. Those who look to leaders for leadership must know what to expect on a daily basis. Also, leaders should make decisions consistently. It is important not to bring their personal feelings to the workplace. When dealing with employees, they should stay focused on the situation or issue, not on the person. Leaders connect with some workers better than others. Leaders should try not to let relationships taint their response.
A leader should also know how to communicate well. Good leaders are good communicators. They clearly convey their message in a way that connects with the listener. Good leaders understand that his teammates tailor his/her message to the needs of each worker. If someone is analytical, a leader should construct his/her message focusing on facts and data. If someone is more relational, he/she should construct the message in a way that conveys emotion and focuses on how the change impacts people.
A leader should also be a listener. The most important characteristic of a leader is being a good listener. A leader should focus on the needs of his/her employees. Often people feel afraid of, or intimidated by, management. A leader should make sure he shows people he are willing to listen to what they have to say, that they are important and worthy of his/her time.
A leader should also be fun. A successful leader has fun in the process. Lightness can complement the seriousness of the job. A fun environment doesn't indicate a lack of professionalism. In fact, a fun environment contributes to the team's results and retention.