Is leadership something you’re born with or can it be taught? It’s an interesting question, but one that you shouldn’t spend too much time stressing over.
Even if you are full of charisma and people naturally line up to follow you anywhere, you could always hone your leadership skills. Or, if you’re like the rest of us, who aren’t natural born leaders, but find themselves in a position of leadership, you’ll want to study the techniques that rally teams to success.
Leadership isn’t rocket science, but like rocket science, it can be taught. There’s a wealth of leadership courses available, online and in the real world. Some are free and others are not. We’ve done the footwork for you. Below is a list of 15 leadership programs, seminars, online courses and degrees you can take to help yourself become the best leader you can be.
1. Chicago Booth
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business developed one of the first experiential leadership programs for full-time students in 1989, and launched its Effective Leadership program in 2009, tailored for evening and weekend Booth MBA students. The program’s guiding principles are self-awareness and acting your way into thinking, as opposed to thinking your way into action.
2. Pryor Learning Solutions
The Management and Leadership program at Pryor, which includes live and online learning options, offers a wide variety of management seminars that focus leadership training, motivating yourself and your employees, budgeting skills and effective communications, such as how to effectively deliver criticism and discipline for employee growth. The lessons provide practical tips for transforming a work group into a cohesive and coordinated team.
3. Bell Leadership Institute
Bell Leadership Institute has been helping organizations build leadership mastery since 1972 with programs focused on practical, take-home actions designed for your specific needs and culture. They offer keynote speeches, a Leader’s Roundtable, open-enrollment seminars, custom programs, annual meetings, executive retreats, licensed programs, assessment tools and coaching for individuals, business and organizations, as well as families and communities.
Leadership and Management Courses at Harvard University help maximize team productivity, drive breakthrough innovation and secure a competitive edge. Through hands-on exercises and discussion, management theories and leadership best practices, you’re taught to master complex challenges and capitalize on opportunities. Courses include building good judgement, building more effective teams, influence and persuasion in leadership, leadership coaching strategies, conflict resolution, strategic leadership and management skills for emerging leaders.
5. Dale Carnegie Training
Dale Carnegie, founded in 1912, offers Live Online Personal Leadership Courses as well as on team and organizational leadership. These courses all are designed to build more effective coaching techniques, master problem analysis and decision-making, effectively communicate change, strengthen listening skills, recognize team success with enthusiasm and learn delegation processes. The mission of the program is to teach you how to stop managing and start leading.
6. American Management Association
The American Management Association’s Leadership Training Courses and Seminars offers courses in general leadership study, such as its “5 Day MBA Workshop,” as well as more specific courses in strategic leadership. Their mission is to shore up students’ capabilities in management, including communication and collaboration skills, critical thinking, finance and project management skills. They promise to provide the competitive tools you’ll need to differentiate yourself in a challenging marketplace.
7. Latitude U
Free (registration required) courses of study at Latitude U include its Level 5 Leadership program. It’s a one-hour online course offering tools for effective leadership and management relations with employees and the workplace. The course is quick, but to the point in advocating a positive attitude and discipline. They see leadership as more people-focused than strategy-focused. You want to know how to identify the right person for the right task. The course suggests consistent evaluation to maintain growth and progression.
Alison.com is an online company that offers free leadership skills in business. They’re geared to the entrepreneur and provide a course of study on the essential leadership skills an entrepreneur or business person will need. Among the skills taught are how to organize your business, select and manage your team, and how to maintain proper professional behavior. Four different types of organizations and four stages of organizational growth are taught, as well as recruitment methods to build your team, helping you understand corporate responsibility and business ethics. While the courses are free, if you score well enough to earn certification, that documentation will come at a fee.
Another online option is Open.edu, which offers free leadership and management courses. Some of the more popular choices include management: perspective and practice, marketing in the 21st century, how teams work, project management, the start of the project journey, creativity and innovation, and understanding operations management. There are over 1,000 free courses on the site, and while some of them may not be the deep dive you’re looking for, they’re a great and free opportunity to gain vital skills for anyone new to management.
Coursera is an online learning center, which collates courses from universities and educational institutions from around the globe. These classes include video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments and community discussion forums. Courses are prices from $29-$99, usually run between four-to-six weeks, and when completed supply a certification. The leadership and management courses include leading people and teams, inspired leadership, organizational leadership, conflict management, inspirational leadership and culture-driven team building.
ProjectManager.com is a project management software company and its website also acts as a training platform and hub of knowledge for the project management community. It publishes several training articles and a new leadership and project management training video every week. Subjects range from leadership development, project management, team building, productivity and even technical templates and guides for seasoned professionals. Leadership coach Susanne Madsen provides expert advice on leading teams and finding your own leadership style. Best of all, the tutorials are all free.
12. SPARK Entrepreneurial Boot Camp Program
SPARK Entrepreneurial Boot Camp Program teaches an efficient and proven method to validate business concepts. It has been designed specifically with entrepreneurs in mind to help them conceptualize and build a business model and find beta customers. They get hands-on assistance to test their ideas over the multi-week program, interacting with mentors and early stage investors. The bootcamp takes place in Ann Arbor, Mich., and costs $1,500, so it’s not for everyone. But if you have the time and money for an intensive crash course in leadership, there’s much you can gain from it.
13. Organizational Leadership and Change, MIT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a course in organizational leadership and change. It focuses on hands-on training that blends theory and practice. Students reflect on prior leadership experiences and then apply lessons learned to further develop their leadership capabilities. The course requires active participation in all leadership classes and activities, as well as short deliverables throughout the year. The course of study is two years and the program is offered online.
Mindtools.com is a learning platform that was established in 1996. The site will prompt you to join, for a fee. It does offer many free lessons on skills and techniques to improve leadership abilities through ideas such as being an authentic leader, using emotional intelligence and knowing what the right leadership approach is for the situation. If you do join, there is more content, such as books and interviews with experts to further your leadership education.
15. Stanford Leadership and Management Courses
Stanford Leadership and Management Courses mix hard and soft skills to provide a well-rounded study of the issues and systems that create effective leaders. They focus on communication and collaboration. They offer a wide variety of programs from an advanced project management professional certificate to an innovation masters series on design thinking, and also a selection of free seminars and webinars.
Leadership is about having the right tools to exercise that leadership and build highly functioning teams. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that gives leaders real-time views of their projects and teams, and does the busywork so you can focus on leading. Start a free 30-day trial today.