The Art and Craft of Great Leadership

min read

Steering a team through the ups-and-downs of growing a business can be one of the greatest challenges entrepreneurs face. But, the skills and talents necessary can be rather straightforward, and anyone with the determination can develop them.

Here are four tips from successful business owners recognized as top leaders by Entrepreneur magazine’s annual awards, which spotlight entrepreneurs making a positive impact.

1. Assemble a dedicated team. "I'm really happy when we all just get along and we have a team of people who continues to put value where I do," says Entrepreneur of 2011 Lee Rhodes, founder of Glassybaby, a Seattle-based company that makes hand-blown glass votive candleholders. "We're in a really great place."

2. Empower your employees. “I have [employees] that are ahead of me in every area,” says Entrepreneur of 2010 Daniel Lubetzky, founder of KIND Healthy Snacks, a New York-based maker of all-natural snack bars. “First create an environment that’s fun and mission-driven. You then empower people." Tell them what the challenges are and allow them to tackle them, he says.

3. Foster a culture of innovation. When you’re brainstorming phase, don't censor yourself, Lubetzky says. Just let everything out with your team, and don’t try to stop the creativity, let it flow and come up with crazy ideas,” he says. “Only later, after you have all your ideas, should you start filtering through the right parameters.”

4. Dole out credit. Rick Alden, founder of Skullcandy, a Park City, Utah, company that makes headphones and earbuds in bright colors and stylish patterns, says he can’t do without his team. “Getting the right crew is the secret to our success,” says Alden, Entrepreneur of 2009.

Are you a leader making a difference to your industry, employees and community? Consider applying for Entrepreneur magazine's Entrepreneur of 2012 awards. Deadline is June 15. 

Who do you think deserves a shot at Entrepreneur of 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Starting, buying, or growing your small business shouldn’t be hard. Guidant Financial works to make financing easy for current and aspiring small business owners by providing custom funding solutions, financing education, and more.

Latest on Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Privacy Policy.