Top 7 Best Leadership Courses – 2021 Review

Worried that you weren’t naturally born with the skills necessary to become a good leader? If these skills aren’t inherent to you, you can learn the leadership skills necessary to help you reach new heights in your career.

And even if you feel you were born a natural leader, you may need some help honing those skills and ensuring you’re using your power in a way that benefits you, your employees, and your company.

One of the best ways to gain skills and put them to good use is by taking an online leadership course. Courses like this will help you to become an effective leader that can drive your company to success. There all kinds of leadership courses available, and we have researched to compile a list of the best leadership courses to help you become an all-star leader.

The Top 7 Best Leadership Courses

  1. CCL Leadership Development Program – Best For Most Leaders
  2. Strategic Leadership and Management – Best for New Managers
  3. Mindfulness Practices – Best for Reducing Stress
  4. Team Facilitation: The Core Skill of Great Team Leaders – Best for Managers with Teams
  5. Nonprofit Ready Leadership Training – Best Free Classes
  6. Leading Teams Remotely – Best for Remote Leaders
  7. Agile Leadership Principles and Practices – Best for Modern Leaders

More in-depth reviews of the top 7 leadership courses are below. Read on to learn about who it benefits, how it benefits them, and potential drawbacks. This information will help you determine which courses are right for you.

#1 – CCL Leadership Development Program – Best for Most Leaders

  • Oldest leadership program on the market
  • Problem solving & stress management
  • Great for mid-level/senior mgmt
  • Over 50,000 graduates

Learn more

Center for Creative Leadership offers a wide range of leadership courses, including Leading for Organizational Impact, Maximizing Your Leadership Potential, Frontline Leader Impact, and more.

However, what we love the Center for Creative Leadership for the most is its Leadership Development Program. For starters, it is the longest-running program like this in the entire world. That means it’s had plenty of time to work out any kinks and issues in the program and make it one that people trust to teach them the leadership skills they’re after.

This five-day immersive class can be taken either online or in-person, so you have the choice of a format that works best for you. The length of the class means it is intense, but that you will get through it quickly and be able to apply what you learn in less than a week.

This class is best fit for leaders who are in a mid-to senior-level position, and looking to “turn management challenges into leadership opportunities.” Here is some of what you will learn in this class:

  • How to bridge the gap between employees and senior management
  • How to have authority on a shared direction
  • How to collaborate to improve your team’s performance
  • How to approach complex problems in your work and take wise action
  • How to manage stress
  • How to build a network of leaders that work to support each others’ development

With over 50,000 graduates of this course, the Leadership Development Program is one you can trust to increase your self-awareness and help you to have better influence as a leader. Once the course is complete, you still have access to post-program support to continue the learning process – something that is key as a leader in a constantly changing world.

This program does come with a hefty price tag, however. The online course will set you back $7,600.

Learn more about this course by visiting the Center for Creative Leadership.

#2 – Strategic Leadership and Management – Best for New Managers

  • Designed for weekly self-paced study
  • Leadership certificate included
  • $400 or $49 per month
  • Nearly 200,000 graduates

Learn more

If you are new to a leadership position, consider taking Coursera’s Strategic Leadership and Management course, conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nearly 200,000 students have taken this course, so it is one you can trust to guide you through the process of entering into leadership.

The main focus of this course is general, everyday leadership that includes teaching how to manage people, organizations, organizational design, strategic planning, strategy implementation, and more.

This class is intended for beginners and is 100% online so that you can learn on your own schedule, in your own time. The pace of it is set to be completed within 8 months, which means spending about 3 hours a week on the course. It can be finished in a shorter period of time if you can dedicate more hours to your study weekly.

Strategic Leadership and Management is comprised of 7 different courses that cover a variety of topics in leadership including:

  • Course 1: Foundations of Everyday Leadership
  • Course 2: Applications of Everyday Leadership
  • Course 3: Designing the Organization
  • Course 4: Managing the Organization
  • Course 5: Business Strategy
  • Course 6: Corporate Strategy
  • Course 7: Strategic Leadership and Management Capstone

Upon finishing the class, and the hands-on project as part of the capstone, you receive a leadership certificate from the University of Illinois.

To take this class via Coursera, the cost is $49 per month for the topic. If you complete one course per month, that means less than $400 for the entire certificate.

#3 – Mindfulness Practices – Best for Reducing Stress

  • Learn to lead with mindfulness
  • Specific to leading in stressful situations
  • Mobile app & offline study access
  • Lifetime access for only $35

Learn more

There is no denying that stress is inevitable as a leader. The key to stress is learning how to approach it and tackle it in a way that minimizes its negative effects.

One way to do this is via LinkedIn Learning’s Mindfulness Practices course. Mindfulness is being talked about more and more lately, and it can and should be extended beyond your personal life and into your professional life. By working on mindfulness, you, as a leader, are better able to reduce your stress and deal with challenges.

In true mindfulness spirit, this class is available to learn anytime and anywhere through both apps and offline access.

Mindfulness Practices will take you through the following topics:

  • Introduction to Mindfulness
  • Lead Yourself
  • Lead Others
  • Lead in Challenging Times
  • Conclusion to Staying With Your Practice

Upon completion of this course, you should have the skills to change the pathways in your brain to respond better to stress in a world that will never stop throwing stress at you.

The purchase of this course will cost you $35 and includes:

  •  41 videos
  • Certificate of completion
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Lifetime access

#4 – Team Facilitation: The Core Skill of Great Team Leaders – Best for Managers with Teams

  • Learn team facilitation & feedback best practices
  • Good for in-person & virtual team leaders
  • No prerequisites
  • $99.99 for lifetime access

Learn more

Udemy is a strong choice for leadership courses for many reasons, but one big one is that the classes are available to anyone, anywhere in the world. In addition to that, Udemy requires no prerequisites so you can get the ball rolling with learning whenever you feel ready to do so.

The Team Facilitation: The Core Skill of Great Team Leaders course is the ideal class for managers who work with teams. This will likely be true for most leaders, but especially for those who feel they are struggling in the team aspect of their position.

This course will help you:

  • Gain an understanding of the skills of successful team leaders
  • Learn critical listening skills that are a must for a leadership
  • Practice effective leadership behaviors that inspire teams
  • Understand how and when to use the different decision-making styles: command, consultative, and consensus
  • Learn how to give and receive feedback that promotes improvements for all parties
  • Learn the skills of leading a team virtually

The above are all crucial parts of leading a team and should be learned before you can expect to find success and happiness in your leadership position.

The structure of the course follows this outline:

  1. Intro to Team Facilitation
  2. Eight Essential Facilitation Skills
  3. How to Choose a Decision-Making Style
  4. Effective Listening Skills
  5. Giving and Receiving Feedback – “Straight Talk”
  6. Virtual Team Facilitation
  7. Summary of Team Facilitation and Communication

All the lessons in this class are available via on-demand video and you get full lifetime access with the purchase of the course. In addition to that, you get 4 downloadable resources that you can put into practice in your work.

The cost of this class is $99.99 and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

#5 – Nonprofit Ready Leadership Training – Best Free Classes

  • Good for nonprofit and for-profit leaders alike
  • Dozens of courses & training modules
  • Learn at your own pace
  • 100% free

Sign up for free

We know exactly what you’re thinking: “But I don’t work for a nonprofit, so this isn’t relevant to me.” But you might want to think again.

While Nonprofit Ready Leadership Training does indeed focus on nonprofit applications, there are skills and lessons to glean that are important to know even if you are not a nonprofit leader yourself. Whether your business has a charitable giving arm, supports a cherished cause, or simply exists alongside nonprofits, there’s a lot the business world can learn from nonprofit leadership.

The courses serve as a great place to start for those who are just entering into the world of leadership. And, it’s a free way to get some information that will surely help you build your skills. Yes, they’re all 100% free, though Nonprofit Ready does require you to sign up for an account to access the free online courses.

These classes offer a wide array of different online leadership resources and provide the opportunity to take advantage of self-paced teaching on topics such as:

  • Transitioning from an Individual Contributor to a Manager
  • Key Management Skills
  • Strategies to Hire Great Employees
  • Developing a Team
  • Building a Leadership Plan

Learn more about the courses on offer from Nonprofit Ready by heading to their site today.

#6 – Leading Teams Remotely – Best for Remote Leaders

  • Specific to leading remote teams
  • Effective communication training
  • Self-paced course & live event available
  • Under $120

Learn more

If you are a leader working with a remote team, then the TrainUp Leading Teams Remotely course is made for you.

Though the actual work you and your team are doing may stay the same, how the work is done is completely different. And this course will help you navigate those differences and changes.

The courses via TrainUp are self-paced, which allow you to fit them into your schedule when you can. However, the sooner you can tackle this course, the more you and your team stand to benefit.

Included in this course are lessons on:

  • Understanding Your Role in Leading Remotely
  • Pitfalls and Opportunities of Remote Leadership
  • How to Communicate Effectively With Your Team
  • How to Create & Sustain Engagement at a Distance
  • Asking Good Questions to Support Remote Work
  • Empowering Your Team With Clear Expectations
  • Leading Team Meetings At a Distance

You can opt to take this course either online at any time or live, virtually on a specified date.

The cost for the online course is $69, and the cost for the virtual course is $119.

#7 – Agile Leadership Principles and Practices – Best for Modern Leaders

  • Specific to Agile leadership
  • Focuses on motivation and team empowerment
  • Just four weeks long
  • Self-paced

Audit for free

While many companies are still using traditional leadership methodologies to drive their employees, others are opting to modernize and go with agile leadership principles that are more focused on facilitation and communication. If this sounds like the type of leadership you’re interested in pursuing, the Agile Leadership Principles and Practices course could be for you.

The approach to leadership taught in this course teaches you about how leaders can work to help their team rather than stand in their way.

The course is 4 weeks long and requires about 2-3 hours a week. However, it is self-paced, so you can complete it quicker if you choose.

By the end of this course you will know about:

  • Motivating your team by empowering them
  • Facilitating creativity and inclusion to improve function
  • Identifying and managing biases in decision-making
  • Negotiating conflicts with individuals, teams, and organizations
  • Securing success via delegation
  • Leveraging talents on the team to improve speed and innovation

Agile Leadership Principles and Practices is free to audit but will cost you $119 to get a certification. (We recommend paying the price to get a certification, as you get much more out of the course.)

How to Find The Best Leadership Course For You

Choosing the best leadership courses for you depends on a few different things. Not all courses will work for all leaders, so it is important to know a few things before you start diving into courses.

Below are the criteria we used to pick the top leadership courses for this article. Use these when doing your research to find the courses that are right for you.

Type of Leader

Not everyone is the same type of leader, and that’s what makes the world of leadership exciting. If we all led in the same way, things wouldn’t be very interesting, would they? There are some fundamentals to leading that all leaders should have nailed down (hence the courses above), but not all leaders need the same skills.

As mentioned above, some courses are ideal for those working with a remote team. If you and your whole team are in an office, this course won’t be relevant to you. Similarly, if you are leading a sales team your skillset is different than someone who is leading a creative team.

It is important to determine what type of leader you are, and what skills you need to learn and expand on in order to be successful in your work.

Where You Are In Your Career

Are you fresh off a promotion to a leadership position? Or have you been leading your team for years? In order to find the leadership course that benefits you the most, you need to find one that aligns with where you are in your career.

Where You Want To Go In Your Career

Are you looking to climb the ladder of leadership into a higher position? Or are you happy with where you are and are simply looking for a course that allows you to hone your leadership skills?

Finding the right leadership course requires you to take a look at where you want to go with your career. What is the driving motivation behind you taking a leadership course? Are you looking to grow? Once you know your personal goals as a leader, you can find the course that matches.

Your Schedule

As a leader, your schedule is likely packed. This means taking advantage of free time or canceled meetings is important when it comes to fitting in your leadership course. For this reason, a course that has a flexible schedule and is self-paced may be best for you.

However, if you know that you have evenings open where you can give your undivided attention to learning, you may find that you’re best suited to a live class that is taught at night.

Determine what your schedule allows, and what works best for you, and find a class that aligns with those needs. 

Summary

What’s the best leadership course?

Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership Development Program is our number one recommendation. It works for a variety of different leaders and is best for turning the inevitable challenges in leadership into opportunities for you, your team, and your company.

However, as mentioned above, choosing the best leadership course for you depends on a few factors that only you can determine. There is no shortage of solid leadership courses out there that will help you to gain the skills you want and need to succeed.


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