18 free online resources for managers to level up their management game

Aiva Strelca 23.11.2023

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of free resources for managers, you’ve come to the right place.

Being a manager isn’t a walk in the park. It takes a lot of personal and professional qualities to oversee people and do it well. Thus, it’s more than necessary for managers to make use of all available resources to level up their management game. 

Thanks to the web, there are plenty of free resources that leaders can learn from and use in their work. This blog post explores 18 invaluable assets every manager should check out – from free leadership resources to coaching resources and free management training materials.

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Table of contents

Helpful resources for managers – platforms and blogs

When exploring the free resources for managers available online, we tried to craft a list containing some well-known sources and hidden gems. Let’s start with the ultimate list of platforms and blogs.

1. Coursera

Coursera is a platform that partners with 275+ leading universities and institutions to offer flexible and high-quality educational materials to individuals and organizations across the globe. The platform provides some paid courses and a wide variety of free classes, including free online courses for managers. 

I once took an introductory psychology course via Coursera and can say that it was engaging, flexible, and insightful. Recommend – especially for managers! 

2. HBR Ascend

Another go-to platform for exploring free leadership resources is HBR Ascend. It’s run by a team of Harward Business Review editors and provides a whole bunch of different materials, ranging from articles to videos and more. 

Even though the HBR Ascend states that it mainly focuses on helping recent graduates and young professionals get around in the world of work, it does offer great insight into all things office and work life that can be very useful to experienced managers. 

Plus, HBR Ascend has its own YouTube channel, which is worth checking out if you prefer video format. 

3. Mind Tools

Another platform offering resources for managers is Mind Tools. Its paid version offers noticeably more content than using the platform for free, but as this list compiles freebie sources of management knowledge, we’re focusing on exploring Mind Tools for free.

For example, opening the Leadership and Management section on the Mind Tools website leads us to 300+ articles, quizzes, videos, and audio materials covering team engagement, virtual teams, motivation, team management essentials, and much more. The diversity of formats is especially cool – not all of us love reading articles or watching videos. So, it’s awesome that Mind Tools has thought about information variety.

4. LinkedIn Learning

The ultimate social media platform for career and business – our beloved LinkedIn – also offers a chunk of free management training materials. While there’s an option to access paid content and training, LinkedIn does provide free resources for managers. For example, here are eight free courses covering crisis management and communication. 

You can also use LinkedIn Learning’s free trial month and access 20,000+ online courses during that time. In 2022, the most popular courses covered goal setting, interpersonal communication, team collaboration essentials, critical thinking, and more.

5. TED Talks

When we mentioned earlier that this list also has some well-known resources, TED Talks was probably what we meant. And yet – why not include this trustworthy and inspirational free leadership development resource? 

Whether you’re looking for inspiration or experienced managerial advice, TED Talks covers it all. Plus, here are three must-see talks for managers:

6. Udemy

With over 210K courses available, Udemy is among the best-known online platforms for education. While most are paid (though usually very affordable), Udemy offers free classes for managers who wish to educate themselves to be better leaders and communicators.  

You can filter the available courses by several aspects, including length, levels (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), whether they have quizzes or practice tests, and more. Udemy offers an impressive list of creative courses – from design to photography, music, and more. Who said that managers don’t need creativity, right?

7. Hubspot Blog

Besides courses, webinars, and whatnot, blogs are a great place to look for valuable resources, and Hubspot Blog is one such place. Hubspot is a software company known and used around the world. It provides a customer platform with everything needed to connect one’s marketing, sales, content management, and customer service. But other than that, the company also has a great blog that’s handy for managers. 

Hubspot Blog offers educational and inspirational articles, provides resources in video and audio formats, and more.

8. DeskTime blog

As a world-leading time and productivity monitoring software company, DeskTime places great emphasis on educating its users on productivity, time management, work-life balance, and other topics. 

Hence, the DeskTime blog is an excellent source of information on leadership and management-related topics. Here, you’ll be able to find educational content on management trends, actionable tips on leadership, employee engagement, and more, as well as a fair share of fun content around the world of work.

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Free leadership training resources – specific courses to check out

Now that you know of free platforms that offer helpful content to managers who wish to educate themselves and become better leaders, it’s time to dive further down the rabbit hole. Here are six specific online leadership courses for you to check out.

9. Conflict Resolution Skills on Coursera

The Conflict Resolution Skills course consists of 5 modules and takes about 4 hours to complete, which can be done at your own pace. This could be the perfect choice if you want something concise yet effective.

As you probably guessed, the course dives into conflict resolution. But besides that, it also looks into several other aspects necessary for leaders, such as active listening skills, communication issues and dealing with them, and more. The Conflict Resolution Skills course offers plenty of case studies, interviews with experts, and other additional resources to help you explore the topic while not spending too much time on it. 

10. The Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Managing People at Work on Coursera

Another free educational resource on the Coursera platform for managers is this course exploring all things management. As said on the platform, this course aims to provide practical skills and knowledge on managing people at work.

The Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Managing People at Work course takes about 28 hours to complete and is structured into six modules. It takes you through a brief course intro, followed by modules on conducting interviews, the leader’s role in the organization, well-designed performance management systems, pay as a motivator, and conflict management in the workplace. The course is offered by the University of London and has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.

11. How to Use SMART Goals: Achieve More in Less Time on Udemy

Besides being skilled in conflict resolution and communication, managers must also know how to use the power of smart goal-setting. Course platform Udemy offers a free course teaching you the power of the SMART goal-setting method in just 37 minutes. Short and sweet!

The SMART goal-setting has plenty of benefits to reap. It can help managers better judge their and their workers’ workload, stay motivated, and set goals like a pro.

12. Inspired Leadership Specialization on Coursera

If you’re up for a lengthier educational journey, here’s another resource for managers: an Inspired Leadership Specialization course accessible on the Coursera platform. It takes about two months to complete if you dedicate 10 hours a week. However, you can still go through the learning process at your own pace – crucial to fit in the sometimes hectic managerial schedules. 

The Inspired Leadership Specialization course is a 5-course series covering emotional intelligence in leadership, women in leadership, inspirational coaching, appreciative inquiry, leadership development, and more. It gets into inclusive leadership and creating positive transformation as a leader, using a holistic approach. The course has an average of 4.8 out of 5 rating and often pops up in listicles covering the best materials available on Coursera.

13. Time Management for Beginners on edX

Undoubtedly, a list of resources for managers wouldn’t be complete without a course tackling time management skills. Here’s one worth your energy – Time Management for Beginners course on the edX platform. It’s free (duh!), self-paced (learn when you have time), takes four weeks to complete if you dedicate 2 to 3 hours per week, and gives you a solid overview of everything related to managing your time.

14. Agile Leadership Principles and Practices on edX

Another edX-provided course – Agile Leadership Principles and Practices. Similarly to edX’s Time Management course, this one also takes about a month to complete (2-3 hours per week) and is self-paced. The course dives deep into agile leadership – a leadership style that is all about communication, collaboration, and coordination. It opposes traditional management and its command-control vibe. 

Being an excellent agile leader demands knowledge, which is why this course on the edX platform is a perfect choice for learning everything about this very 21st-century leadership style.

Bonus: 4 fun self-development resources for managers

Don’t get us wrong – we’re not saying that taking an online course on leadership can’t be fun, but we decided to include some bonus resources for managers. These four sources are cool enough to explore in your spare time and focus on self-development.

15. The School of Life content

The School of Life is a global organization that creates content aimed at improving people’s well-being and overall helping them live fulfilling lives. It has a YouTube channel with 8.7M subscribers and provides them with short but engaging and insightful coverage on a specific topic weekly. 

Moreover, The School of Life has an app giving its users access to a plethora of articles and other resources and maaaany excellent books, workbooks, and card sets that explore a wide variety of topics. They’re the perfect mixture of fun and educational. Plus, the organization also provides therapeutic services and corporate offerings. 

Yes, The School of Life does focus on self-understanding. But being a good manager or leader undoubtedly requires great intrapersonal skills just as much as interpersonal ones.

16. QuickRead

Have you heard of the popular book summary app called Blinkist? Here’s a free and equally good alternative – QuickRead. It offers book summaries via a mobile app available to Android and iOS users and on QuickRead’s website. Plus, you can download the book summary as an mp3 or pdf file. 

QuickRead provides access to hundreds of books – management and leadership topics included.

17. The Dov Baron Show

Previously known as the Leadership and Loyalty podcast, The Dov Baron Show is a top-rated business podcast talking to global leaders and captivating minds. Twice a week, the podcast host, Dov Baron, invites famous and influential guests to share glimpses of their incredible journeys in life and business. 

Thus, if you want to listen to a podcast that is both entertaining and can provide you with some food for thought from the leadership perspective, The Dov Baron Show is a match.

18. Healthy Minds Program App

Again, tapping into the waters of self-understanding, which leaders and managers need plenty of to succeed – the Healthy Minds Program App is an easy-to-use guide to one’s mental well-being. The app, available to Android and iOS users, combines lessons and meditations, teaching the user valuable lessons on how their brain works. 

The primary mission of the Healthy Minds Program is to translate well-being science into practical applications that everyone can use daily. And when it comes to the app, it helps users develop the skills needed for a healthy mind. 

The essence of becoming a better manager

Listen. The fact that you’re reading this listicle already signifies that you a) care if you’re a good leader and manager and b) are eager to become even better. Which is terrific, and your employees and team members are lucky to have you leading them. 

Diving into bettering yourself and your management approach will take time, energy, and potentially giving up some of your old principles that no longer serve the new and improved you. But with these helpful (and free) resources, your journey should be fun and rewarding. If you’ve found something for yourself in this article, go ahead and start improving!

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