7 Online Courses That Will Make You a Better Leader

October 31, 2016

These courses will make any business leader better at their jobs.

This is an incredibly obvious statement, but the leaders of any organization are hugely important to its success. An organization that has strong leadership will likely succeed, whereas one with bad leadership will fail, almost regardless of any other market condition.

However, great leaders aren’t born, they’re made over a lifetime of learning. Generally, they learn from their mentors and from work experience, but the world’s best leaders find ways to improve themselves outside of just what they learn on the job.

Additionally, leaders set the example for the rest of the organization to follow. So if a leader wants their employees to always be learning, they themselves need to adopt that mantra as well.

With all that in mind, we found the seven LinkedIn Learning courses that would most benefit any senior leader, regardless of their industry or market. By taking these courses, senior leaders will not only improve themselves, they’ll also encourage everyone they manage to do the same.

The seven courses are:

1. Effective Listening

By Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou

What’s the key to being a great leader?

According to Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer, the answer is listening. The only way any senior leader can stay on top of all parts of the business they manage is to listen, and listen well.

Unfortunately, and Sharer spoke to this in an interview with McKinsey, senior leaders – particularly younger senior leaders – have a tendency to believe their own hype. That causes arrogance and prevents them from truly listening to their people and working together to figure out the best solution.

In Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou’s LinkedIn Learning class, the two business school professors explain show how to assess your current listening skills, understand the challenges to effective listening and develop behaviors that will allow you to become a better listener—and a better colleague, mentor and friend.

2. Leading and Working in Teams

By Amy Edmondson

Ultimately, the role of any senior leader is to build and lead a high performing team. In her LinkedIn Learning course, Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson – based on her years of research working with teams across industries – reveals how high performance arises when teams are encouraged to take risks, fail and learn from those small failures, a process she calls "teaming."

She goes on to outline what leaders can do to create the right environment for teaming and how they can encourage individual team members to speak up, collaborate, experiment and reflect.

3. Building Accountability into Your Culture

By Mike Figliuolo

The New England Patriots have been the most successful team in the National Football League for the past 16 years. Why?

According to dozens of player interviews, it’s because their coach – the incomparable Bill Belichick – demands more from them than any other coach in the NFL. He requires all players to memorize complicated gameplans each week (most NFL coaches use the same basic strategy over and over) to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses.

“Coach Belichick holds us accountable everyday,” Patriots’ Star Quarterback Tom Brady said. “We appreciate when he’s tough on us. He gets the best out of us.”

In his LinkedIn Learning course, management consultant Mike Figliuolo explains how to bring that same culture of accountability to your organization. An interesting fact about this course?

It’s one of the most popular courses by people in the US Army, an organization that knows a thing or two about accountability.

4. Competitive Strategy

By Anil Gupta

If you were looking for one of the world’s leading strategy experts, look no further than Anil Gupta. A regular participant at the World Economic Forum and a regular speaker at the Yale CEO Summit, Gupta is one of only three professors, out of over 25,000 worldwide, to have been elected as a lifetime fellow of the three most prestigious academic bodies in his field: the Academy of Management, the Strategic Management Society and the Academy of International Business.

In his LinkedIn Learning class, Gupta provides an overview of the sources of competitive advantage. He explains how and why companies are always simultaneously competing in two arenas – onstage and backstage – and how competitive advantage is dynamic; an advantage you have today may not be an advantage tomorrow.

5. Find and Retain High Potentials

By Katy Sharon

You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times – your organization is only as strong as the people within it. In fact, Steve Jobs once said the single most important job of a leader is recruiting.

In this class, leadership development coach Katy Sharon offers tools and techniques to help you identify "high potentials" in your organization and position it as an employer of choice, while even providing a series of interview questions you can use in your hiring process.

Additionally, Sharon includes a sample high-potential career development plan and a guide for planning conversations about retention, so you can keep the great people you do hire.

6. Risk Taking for Leaders

By Deborah Perry Piscione

To win in business, you can’t just do what’s always been done. You need to take risks, in an intelligent way.

In her class, best selling business author Deborah Perry Piscione explains the difference between gambling and calculated risk-taking, and how to master the art of risk. Learn how leaders can model risk-taking behavior that serves to strike a balance between long-term value creation and short-term profitability.

7. Bill George on Self-Awareness, Authenticity and Leadership

By Bill George

Bill George was one of the most successful CEOs of the 1990s, turning Medtronic into the $100 billion-a-year business it is today. But that only became possible after he became a self-aware leader, who created authentic relationships within his organization.

In his LinkedIn Learning course, George explains that journey, as well as his approach to both leadership and general self-improvement. He further explains how to examine your strengths and weaknesses, solicit honest feedback and become more authentic in how you behave and lead.

Assigning these seven courses are a start, but it’ll take more than that to build exceptional leaders at your organization. Download our free ebook today to see a complete strategy on building great managers from within your organization.