If we were to take the world’s most outstanding CEOs, business managers, operations managers, company directors and huddle them into a room to ask one question: “What do you all have in common?” The answer would likely be: “We never stop learning.”
At the heart of this notion is the unquenchable desire for education. Successful leaders are forever investing in themselves whenever they can so that they can better serve and guide their teams.
Through resources such as books, podcasts, colleagues, training and the like, a great leader remains curious to improve their knowledge and widen their perspective, no matter where they sit on the podium.
What is great leadership?
It increases productivity, boosts motivation, improves company culture and directs efforts to achieve overarching business objectives. There’s a wonderful quote by Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop who says:
“What I have learned is that people become motivated when you guide them to the source of their own power and you make heroes out of employees who personify what you want to see in the organisation.”
This sense of bettering ourselves so that we may better those around us is the driving force behind remarkable leadership. For businesses today, having good leadership is invaluable. As we know teams are made up of individual talents and specialist skill sets all working to achieve the same goal.
The role of the leader is to direct those efforts and provide guidance as we move towards that common goal. A good leader is more than just possessing a title of authority though. It’s more about your character and how you positively impact the individual members of the team.
It’s about your communication skills, your ethics, your vision and the ability to deliver on it. Many characteristics define good leadership that determine how your team perceives and responds to you.
Staying ahead of the pack
The digital age is the information age. Because of this, aspiring or existing leaders need to stay apprised of industry changes and developments on an almost daily basis.
And that’s where the training comes in!
We’ve rounded up some of the best FREE leadership courses that you can take from the comfort of your home, office or even on your lunch break coffee shop visit. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Free Leadership Courses
The courses will vary in length and depth to suit your learning schedule but all of them are FREE and offer excellent insights and practical advice.
“Build a creative environment in 7 steps without being the most creative person in the room.” This course lays out the frameworks for creating a more productive and harmonious workspace. Through 1-hour of online video content, you’ll learn what it means to be a good leader, how to lead with confidence and how to drive creativity from your team.
A great starting point for beginners looking to understand the creative principles behind leadership.
“The fundamentals of public speaking, sales, persuasion, influence, pitching, habit change and reputation management.” This course combines several individual courses into one neat package, courtesy of The Expert Academy. All of which are taught by top instructors.
You’ll get 2-hours of on-demand video content covering a total of 6 topics:
- The Psychology of Persuasion and Influence with Phil Hesketh
- The Perfect Pitch: How To Tell Them What They Want To Hear with Alan Stevens
- How To Break Habits with Gavin Presman
- Public Speaking Masterclass with Alan Stevens
- Reputation Management with Alan Stevens
- Sales Skills Masterclass with Phil Hesketh
These mini-courses are available for free but can unlock the full course options for a fee which entitles you to a certificate of completion.
“Accelerate and improve team decisions by learning Agile’s facilitating leadership principles to unleash team productivity, motivation and problem-solving.” This course is designed to teach students the principles of Agile leadership, a modern iteration that’s style is designed to keep pace with society’s fast-moving changes.
The 4-week course focuses on communication and facilitation to empower our teams through inclusivity, decision-making, delegation and how to spread critical thinking throughout the entire team.
Over the 4 weeks, that require 2-3 hours per week, you’ll gain an overview on:
- Defining leadership and the science behind it
- Introduction to scrum, gamification and other agile techniques
- Exploring decision-making prowess, emotional-social intelligence and negotiation
- Putting the lessons into practice for optimising team performance
Edx offers users to audit the course for free, with an optionable upgrade fee for certification.
“Develop skills to go beyond balance and better manage work-life priorities as individuals and leaders.” CatalystX experts teach the importance of creating flexible and productive work environments through inclusive leadership and by creating your personal development plan.
Using research and real-world examples, this course offers learners the strategies for managing a flexible workplace and how you can effect positive change as a leader. You’ll build knowledge around communication, technology, problem-solving and more with quizzes, case studies and video content.
Edx recommends that the course can be completed in 4-weeks, with only a 1-2 hour commitment each week which makes it easily digestible for busy routines.
“Mobilize people to tackle tough problems and build the capacity to thrive through the dangers of change.” This course from Harvard University introduces leadership principles and strategies to combat the adaptive pressures and complex organisational systems of today.
You’ll learn how to identify and defuse complex challenges, understand the formal and informal roles of authority, identify key perspectives of stakeholders, conflict resolution and how you can implement personal strategies to thrive amidst change.
The course takes 4 weeks to complete with a 2-3 hour weekly commitment.
Divided into 8 sections the course structure looks like this:
- Introduction: Get on the balcony
- Identify the work to be done
- Lead with, beyond, and without authority
- Take Action: Think politically
- Take Action: Build trust
- Take Action: Orchestrate conflict
- Anchor yourself
- Conclusion: Staying alive
You can find this free Edx course here.
“Inspire, Influence, Motivate and Gain followers: Realize Your True Leadership Potential.” This short 1-hour course is designed to teach learners the art and science of communicating and engaging with your audience.
Using practical theories that gain and maintain the interest of your listeners and keep them hooked throughout, this course is great for people looking to make an impact and garner followers, as well as business leaders wanting to improve the cohesion of their teams.
The course is divided into 6 sections over 13 lectures:
- Grab Attention and Never Let Go
- One Skill To Rule Them All
- Imagination and Reward
- Many Paths of Communication
- What You Wish You Knew Before: Key Insights
- About The Instructor: Additional Content and Resources
This course is free from Udemy, find it here.
“Do you have what it takes to be a CEO? This course explores the key competencies that make the best CEOs effective leaders.” In this course designed for the aspiring CEOs of tomorrow, you’ll learn 6 key skills that form the foundation of effective CEO strategies.
Leaning takes place over 4 weeks with a 4-6 hour weekly commitment through a series of case studies, group challenges and feedback from current CEOs. The course works well for individual contributors looking to navigate their desk into a pristine corner office or for managers leading teams who want to motivate and inspire.
The 6 lessons include:
- How CEOs get results
- The power of creating an effective, positive culture in your organisation
- How to attract top talent
- How to create an environment that drives innovation
- Analysing future opportunities to formulate strategy
- Effective communication with stakeholders - the board, investors and communities
Alison.com offers learners over 4000 courses available online, for free, with certificates and diplomas. Currently, you can pursue around 30 leadership courses that range from 45 minutes to 20+ hours. All of these courses incorporate the key skills associated with great leadership, from communication to emotional intelligence, to managing a team, learning how to formulate strategies and more.
We’ll drop a few links below for some of the top picks.
- Leadership Skills for Beginners
- Diploma in Leadership and Management Styles
- Introduction to Modern Project Management Theory and Practice
- Negotiation and Conflict
- The Essential Skills of Leadership for Career Development
- Understanding and Improving Team Culture
- Essential Career Soft Skills
- Social Intelligence and Stakeholder Engagement: Fortune 500
Great leadership is the delicate balance of soft skills like listening, emotional intelligence and empathy combined with technical skills like communication, management skills and the ability to formulate strategies.
The good news is that if you haven’t got them already, you can learn and develop both these skill types for free, online, and on your own schedule. Time to put those high-flying aspirations to work!
We’ve explored some of the best online free leadership courses in this article so grab a notepad and start checking these courses out!