Regardless of where you are in your career, there's never a wrong time to invest in your career development and become a better leader.
If you aspire to be a manager or leader of an organization one day, then training and further educating yourself will help you get ahead of the curve. If you're already a manager or leader of an organization, then training and continuing to educate yourself can help you hone your skills, learn new ideas and approaches, and stay ahead of the competition.
There are numerous high-quality career development resources to choose from when it comes to upping your leadership game without breaking the bank. Below are several free leadership and management resources that provide information, resources, training, or a combination of these aspects. Some of these training courses might require you to provide your information to receive the free reports, while several listed also have paid services and training options. If you work for a company that's open to it, you might consider talking to your manager to see if the company would cover the cost of any professional development books, trainings or courses.
Free Leadership Training and Career Development Resources
1. Miller Heiman Group
The Miller Heiman Group, formally MHI Global, provides training and coaching for businesses and professionals with an emphasis on sales and service organizations. In addition to their paid services, the company produces a blog with a section dedicated to helping sales and service professionals improve their management and leadership skills.
2. John Spence
John Spence is recognized as one of the top 100 business thought leaders and one of the top 500 leadership development experts in the world. He is an international keynote speaker and management consultant and has written five books on business and life success. Check out his blog for helpful tips and insights to improve your leadership skills and advance your career.
3. Interaction Associates
Interaction Associates is an organization dedicated to supporting leaders and teams using "The Interaction Method," a facilitated approach for building understanding and agreement so that people can make informed, concerted action and helps emphasize organizational collaboration. This method teaches people how to accomplish goals by working together, rather than resorting to plain-old leadership delegation. They share a lot of free information from their Insights page including videos and blogs geared towards leadership development and career growth, and also have virtual workshops, on-site training, and other valuable leadership tools delivered straight to your digital device.
4. Klemmer & Associates
Klemmer & Associates is a premier leadership and character development company. Through its blog, it offers free weekly leadership lessons and career advice. In addition to these free resources, the organization also offers leadership workshops and webinars at the personal and corporate level for a fee. Click on the following link to learn more about these paid training opportunities.
5. Seth Godin
Forward-thinker published author, and founder of altMBA, Seth Godin's following has steadily increased on social channels over the past few years. Some might consider his posts unconventional to a degree, but they're always short and to the point, with words of wisdom and knowledge. His leadership blog has more than 2,500 posts (and counting), and he has authored at least 18 books. He also offers free ebooks and additional content on his Free Stuff page, while his altMBA program offers an intensive 4-week leadership program that uses digital tools like Slack, WordPress, and Zoom to engage students for the price of $3,000.
Though not exactly a leadership-specific content or training provider, HubSpot, which is primarily known for its marketing and sales software, does offer a lot of free reports geared towards online marketing and sales trends that many leaders are interested in knowing.
7. People Equation
People Equation by freelance leadership and business writer Jennifer V. Miller focuses on workplace dynamics by providing a lot of free leadership training content and resources. For example, Miller offers a list of 25 Free Leadership Development Resources on her site, a few of which overlap with what I've shared here.
8. Random Acts of Leadership
Random Acts of Leadership by Susan Mazza, leadership coach and motivational speaker, is a leadership blog that focuses on the personal and intangible side of leadership. I find that great leaders know how to hone in on this and also understand the importance of doing so.
Related: 8 Traits of Highly Effective Leaders
9. American Management Association (AMA)
The AMA offers several fee-based training courses and seminars that center on a number leadership skills such as communication, finance management, and project management. They also offer several free career development resources for individuals, including podcasts, articles, and white papers.
10. Tom Peters
Tom Peters is a well-known and raved-about thought leader and author. His Manifestos blog is full of free leadership and management content.
TopResume, a Talent Inc. company, is the largest resume-writing service in the world. Its mission is to help professionals tell the best version of their career story to stand out from the crowd and land their dream job faster. Though much of the content on TopResume's blog is geared towards conducting an effective job search, there is a section dedicated to career advancement. Click on the following link to access TopResume's content on leadership and management advice.
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12. Dan McCarthy
Dan McCarthy is currently the Director of Executive Development Programs at the Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), as well as a leadership coach. His blog, Great Leadership by Dan, incorporates posts from several thought-provoking leaders. He also has an eBook, The Great Leadership and Succession Planning, that is available for purchase and offers fee-based consulting services.
13. Business schools, colleges, and online courses
This is a general one, but many colleges offer quality leadership training and other courses to build your management skills. Do an online search for colleges in your area to see what type of career development training classes they might offer to the public for a certain price.
There are also plenty of free or low-cost training courses available online through well-known sites like Envato Tuts+, General Assembly, Coursera, Udemy, edX, GoSkills, Lynda.com, and SkillShare, to name a few. Before you commit to an expensive training program, find a free or low-cost online course in leadership training and management to get a feel for the material.
My motto is this: Never stop expanding your knowledge and learning new things. Management and leadership training can be very valuable career services, and the more open and prepared you are, the better.
The list above could go on and on with great resources for management and leadership development. Consider adding one new resource every few months to review as part of your daily education, or do your own research and add your favorites to this list. You own your career development, and it's not too early to take the initiative now to be a great leader for the future.
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