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10 Free Online Courses To Make You More Successful

10 Free Online Courses To Make You More Successful

Success is not an act; it is a slow process that involves growth, change and failure. It involves all aspects of your life, from how you manage your credit card bills to how to discipline your children. Here is a selection of free courses that cover all aspects of your life that you need to control in order to be successful. This list has all you need to know to be successful on a whole new level.

1. Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity

https://www.coursera.org/learn/work-smarter-not-harder

4-8 hours of videos, readings, and quizzes

Lots of people say that time is your most valuable resource. With this course at UC Irvine, you can learn how to use your time to make yourself more successful. This course covers personal and professional productivity, which is useful because a poor personal routine can undermine your efforts to be successful. Learn how to use your time more productively to reach a new level of success.Stick with this course to learn more about being a more productive person. 

2. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills

https://www.coursera.org/learn/negotiation-skills

8.5 hours of videos

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Learn how to negotiate with a course from the University of Michigan. It teaches you how to work a negotiation to ensure you get the better deal. You will benefit from the tips, tricks and advice that have been gathered from studies into human behavior. It can help make you successful through teaching you how to negotiate your way into a better wage, mortgage, and into a better job. They work on the four steps to successful negotiation.

3. Love Your Money

http://loveyourmoney.org/

Ongoing

In a joint venture with the University of Tennessee and FINRA, you can figure out how to achieve all the success you want by managing your money better. The course teaches you how to be successful with things such as building wealth, setting budgets, setting goals, debt, pensions and so much more. It runs through many of the money issues you are going to face throughout your life and teaches you how to handle them to ensure your future success. Take this course to improve the way you use your money throughout the rest of your lifetime. 

4. Effective Altruism

https://www.coursera.org/learn/altruism

10-15 hours of videos and assignments

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With Princeton University you can learn how give away your money more effectively. Sometimes you can do damage with the money you give away if you don’t check out the background of the organization you are giving to. In addition, many people squander there money on risky ventures with family and friends. This course teaches you how to avoid such traps and make practical and unsentimental decisions giving away money.Throughout a lifetime of giving, you deserve to know that the organizations you are giving to are ones that represent your values. 

5. Psychology of Popularity

https://www.coursera.org/course/popularity

6 weeks of study at 1-2 hours per week

The key to success is often the ability to influence people, and with the University of North Carolina, you can learn how popularity works. You can discover the psychology behind popularity and how to use it. They feature the works of Steve Siebold, a famous public speaker, and with the help of the course, you may find how to capitalize on the predictable nature of popularity. While this type of popularity is different than the type worshiped in high school, popularity can be quite effective in your professional and personal life in making connections that are genuine. 

6. Behavioral Economics in Action

https://www.edx.org/course/behavioural-economics-action-university-torontox-be101x

6 weeks with 4 – 5 hours per week

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This is a course from the University of Toronto. The class gives practical ways to change how you behave in every aspect of life. For example, people in our time have been taught by the TV and media to spend money as soon as they get it. This is a behavior that you can change. The course gives you practical advice that you can use to change how you are programmed with regards to money and temptation. Master your mind, and you are one-step closer to success.

7. Personal & Family Financial Planning

https://www.coursera.org/course/uffinancialplanning

8 weeks of study for 5-7 hours per week

Success means being able to balance and manage your home life as well as your career. With the University of Florida, you can learn how to balance your home and work life and you can learn how to plan for a career. You no longer need to choose between having a family and having a career, with the help of this course you can have both. You can learn how to manage risk, work on your taxes and invest so that you have the money to fund your new family.

8. The Language and Tools of Financial Analysis

https://www.coursera.org/course/financialanalysis

4 weeks at 6 hours per week

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With the University of Melbourne, you can learn how investors, analysts and CEOs make their decisions. It teaches you computer skills along with financial decision-making skills. Learn basic accounting principles and combine it all to figure out how to manage and use your money more effectively. You can measure the value of your investments and figure out where to put your money where it will work its hardest for you. It is a core lesson in the productivity of the money you invest. If you start today, your investments will pay off in the long-run. 

9. Financial Markets

https://www.coursera.org/course/financialmarkets

8 weeks of study at 6-12 hours per week

With this course at Yale University, you can learn how the world markets work via guest speakers such as Hank Greenberg and Carl Icahn. You can learn the theory behind banking and the financial markets. They tie into everything from the rate you pay for your mortgage, to how much stock you should buy for the coming month. With this knowledge, you can make more informed decisions at home and in business. They even help you guess how the financial markets are going to change in the future.

10. Financial Evaluation and Strategy: Investments

https://www.coursera.org/course/investments

4 weeks of study at 4-6 hours per week

This is a very useful course you can take with the University of Illinois. It teaches key principles such as risk and return, optimization, and security pricing. It works well when trying to figure out your future investments, but it ties into hundreds of different aspects of your life, from how you make decisions about staff members to how you discipline your children. Learn how to look to the future and how you should invest in your own success and what risks you should take.

Featured photo credit: Gabriela Pinto / Project 365 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 21, 2019

How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination, is a reminder of why I am so drawn to leadership as a topic. Whenever I think it is impossible for me to be more impressed with her, she proves me wrong.

Earlier this week, a former marine suggested that he had been in a long-term sexual relationship with the Senator. She flipped the narrative and used the term “Cougar,” a term used to describe older women who date younger men, to reference her alma mater.

Rather than calling the young man a liar, or responding to the accusations in kind, she re-focused the conversation back to her message of college affordability and lifted up that “Cougar” was the mascot for her alma mater. She went on to note that tuition at her school was just $50 per semester when she was a student. Class act.

But by the end of the week, news broke that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, another contender for the presidency, had a heart attack. Warren not only wished Sanders a speedy recovery but her campaign sent a meal to his staff. She knew that the hopes of staff, donors and supporters were with the Senator from Vermont and showed genuine compassion and empathy.

To me, she has proven time and time again that she is more than a presidential candidate: she belongs in a leadership hall of fame.

What makes some people excel as leaders is fascinating. You can read about leadership, research it and talk about it, yet the interest in leadership alone will not make you a better leader.

You will have more information than the average person, but becoming a good leader is lifelong work. It requires experience – and lots of it. Most importantly, it requires observation and a commitment to action. Warren observed what was happening with Sen. Sanders, empathized with his team and then took action. Regardless of the outcome of this election, Sanders’ staff will likely never forget her gesture.

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You would have had to work on a political campaign in order to appreciate the stress and anxiety that comes with it. In this moment, staff may not remember everything that Warren said throughout the lengthy campaign, but they will remember what she did during an unforgettable time during the campaign.

If this model of leadership is appealing, and if you are searching for how to up your own leadership game, read on for six characteristics that good leaders share:

1. Good leaders are devoted to the success of the people around them.

Good leaders are not self-interested. Sure, they want to succeed, but they also want others to succeed.

Good leaders see investing in others just as important as they see investing in themselves. They understand that their success is closely tied to the people around them, and they work to ensure that their peers, employees, friends and family have paths for growth and development.

While the leaders may be the people in the spotlight, they are quick to point to the people around them who helped them (the leaders) enter that spotlight. Their willingness to lift others inspires their colleagues’ and friends’ devotion and loyalty.

2. Good leaders are not overly dependent on others’ approval.

It is important for managers to express their support for their teams; good leaders must be independent of the approval of others. I explained in an article for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, that:[1]

“While a desire to be loved is natural, managers who prioritize approval from subordinates will become ineffective supervisors who may do employees harm. For example, a manager driven by a need for approval may shy away from delivering constructive feedback that could help an employee improve. A manager fearful of upsetting someone may tolerate behavior that degrades the work environment and culture.”

In yet another example, a manager who is dependent on the approval of others may not make decisions that could be deemed unpopular in the short run but necessary in the long run.

Think of the coaches who integrated their sporting teams. Their decision to do so, may have seemed odd, and even wrong, in the moment, but time has proven that those leaders were on the right side of history.

3. Good leaders have the capacity to share the spotlight.

Attention is nice, but it is not the prime motivator for good leaders. Doing a good job is.

For this reason, good leaders are willing to share the spotlight. They aren’t threatened by a lack of attention, and they do not need credit for every accomplishment. They are too focused on their goal and too focused on the urgency of their work.

4. Good leaders are students.

In the same way that human beings are constantly evolving, so too are leaders. As long as you are living, you have the potential to learn. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you think you have; you can always learn something new.

I have the experience of thinking I was doing everything right as a manager, only to receive conflicting feedback from my team. Perhaps my approach was not working for my team, and I had to be willing to hear their feedback to improve.

Good leaders understand that their secret sauce is their willingness to keep receiving information and keep learning. They aren’t intimidated by what they do not know: As long as they maintain a willingness to keep growing, they believe they can overcome any obstacle they face.

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As both masters and students, good leaders read, listen and study to grow. They consume content for information, not just entertainment purposes. They aren’t impressed with their knowledge; they are impressed with the learning journey.

5. Good leaders view vulnerability as a superpower.

It means “replacing ‘professional distance and cool,’ with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure,” said Emma Sappala in a Dec. 11, 2014, article, “What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable” for Harvard Business Journal.[2] She went on to note the importance of human connection, which she asserts is often missing at work.

“As leaders and employees, we are often taught to keep a distance and project a certain image. An image of confidence, competence and authority. We may disclose our vulnerability to a spouse or close friend behind closed doors at night but we would never show it elsewhere during the day, let alone at work.”

This rings so true for me as a woman leader. I was raised believing that any show of emotion in the workplace could be used against me. I was raised believing that it was best for women leaders to be stoic and to “never let ‘em see you sweat.” This may have prevented me from connecting with employees and colleagues on a deeper, more personal level.

6. Good leaders understand themselves.

I am a huge fan of life coach and spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant. In addition to her hit show on the OWN network, Vanzant has authored dozens of books. In her books and teachings, she underscores the importance of knowing ourselves fully. She argues that we must know what makes us tick, what makes us happy and what makes us angry.

Self-awareness enables us to put ourselves in situations where we can thrive, and it also enables us to have compassion when we fall short of the goals and expectations we have for ourselves. Relatedly, understanding ourselves will allow us to know our strength. When we know our strengths, we will be able to put people around us who compliment our strengths and fill the gaps in our leadership.

Final Thoughts

Being a good leader, first and foremost, is an inside job. You must focus on growing as a person regardless of the leadership title that you hold. You cannot take others where you yourself have not been. So focusing on yourself, regardless of your time or where you are in your career will have long term benefits for you and the people around you.

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Further, if you want to become a good leader, you should start by setting the intention to do so. What you focus on grows. If you focus on becoming a better leader, you will research and invest in things that help you to fulfill this intention. You will also view the good and bad leadership experiences as steppingstones that hone your character and help you improve.

After you set the intention, get really clear on what a good leader looks like to you. Each of us has a different understanding of leadership. Is a good leader someone who takes risk? Is a good leader, in your estimation, someone who develops other leaders? Whatever it is, know what you’re shooting for. Once you define what it means to be a good leader, look for people who exemplify your vision. Watch and engage with them if you can.

Finally, understand that becoming a good leader doesn’t happen overnight. You must continually work at improving, investing in yourself and reflecting on what is going well and what you must improve. In this way, every experience is an opportunity to grow and a chance to ask: ‘What is this experience trying to teach me?’ or ‘what action is necessary based on this situation?’

If you are committed to questioning, evaluating and acting, you are that much closer to becoming a better leader.

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Featured photo credit: Sam Power via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Why Good Managers Overcome the Desire to Be Liked
[2] Harvard Business Journal: What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable

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