3 Online Leadership Courses for Professional Development

I’ve been attending a 5-part rural leadership course, and it had me thinking what a missed opportunity it is for those who aren’t able to attend. Then I thought, there must be more ways to get leadership training to others, which led me to online leadership courses.

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Online leadership training can be wonderful for employee professional development. With budgets being tight for many small businesses, sending employees off for training or having training brought to the job site might be beyond an owner’s financial ability. Online training, on the other hand, can provide a method for employees to build the skill sets they need to be effective.

Who are the leaders in a company?

I think of every new hire as a potential leader in the company. Even the shy new guy with little or no job experience has the opportunity to mentor the next new guy. For some, leadership comes naturally. Others have to work at it. For you, as a business owner, cultivating the leadership skills of your employees can lead to a stronger company all around.

When I say leadership, that doesn’t mean the individual with the loudest voice or the most domineering personality. Leadership is more about building positive relationship that influence and motivate others to strive to do their best. Imagine having a company full of individuals who are able to set aside their differences and work together effectively, take the initiative, motivating one another to build a better company. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Where to Find Leadership Courses?

silhouette ColleaguesI’ve been lucky to work in a company that frequently hosts leadership training series. My boss also believes in the importance of leadership training. As a result, I often get to participate in these training events at little to no cost. However, I also recognize not every company can afford to send their people off for training or even book a presenter for professional development.

For business owners who are looking for professional development opportunities for their employees, online leadership programs may be a viable option. I’ve done a little research and found a few potential candidates for online leadership training. First, I don’t claim to endorse any speaker in particular, as I’ve not tried them myself. However, I will tell you the three I’m listing below are deemed as some of the most highly recognized motivational speakers in the world. If you do try out a program, please return and share your findings with the rest of us.

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Brian Tracy has an impressive list of international companies he’s done seminars with, including IBM, Pepsi Cola, Siemens Business Services, and Lucent Technologies to name a few. I encourage you to visit his website to view a complete list. What I like about Brian Tracy is his website features videos of him speaking. It gives folks a taste of what he has to offer. He’s been in the business for over 30 years, and he’s an entrepreneur. So he understands what it’s like to build a company.

Jack Canfield is probably best known as the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. He’s typically seen as a motivational speaker. However, he also has a strong role in the leadership community. In fact, he’s the founder of the Transformational Leadership Council. I really enjoy his casual style. It’s very conversational.

Anthony (Tony) Robbins is a bit younger than the first two. However, Tony also has over 30 years of experience with international experience. According to his website, he’s produced the #1 selling audio coaching program of all time, and has been featured in popular magazines such as Forbes. What I like about his story is his sense of humanitarianism. He also is an entrepreneur and has examples of his presentation on his website.

Bonus Suggestion: You can always turn to books. One of my favorite books when it comes to leadership is Stephen Convey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I read this book when I was about 19, and some of the habits still come to my mind today. In fact, I mentioned two of his habits (Put First Things First & Think Win-Win) at the end of my last rural leadership session.


Above all, be on the lookout for opportunities that allow your employees to display their leadership qualities. As I mentioned, even the newest guy on the block can have an opportunity to mentor the individual who comes next. A leadership opportunity can be something as minimal as providing a tour of your facilities.