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You Need To Visit These 20 Websites If You Want To Learn New Skills

You Need To Visit These 20 Websites If You Want To Learn New Skills

Are you still trying to think of a clever goal to work toward this year? How about challenging yourself to learn a new skill? Or even better, several!

Just imagine, by the end of the year you could be coding your own website, conversing in Mandarin, networking with ease, publishing your first book, or properly using that DSLR camera. You don’t have to leave your couch, much less take a student loan, to learn these and thousands of other skills from some of the best teachers and educational institutions in the world.

Whatever you can dream of learning, these 20 websites can probably teach it to you — maybe even for free. So, what are you waiting for? Make this year one of personal development!

Coursera

With more than 1,500 courses to choose from, Coursera can bring you new skills in practically any field a university offers — business, social sciences, math, life sciences, and humanities, to name a few. Coursera partners with 140 educational institutions across the globe to provide video lectures and interactive quizzes. You also get peer-graded assessments and social support from other learners. Some courses are free, while others cost up to $400 (this fee includes an official Certificate of Completion).

Skillshare

With an emphasis on “learn by doing,” Skillshare offers more than 2,500 self-paced classes spanning creative arts, design, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, and technology. More than 200 classes are free, but if you want to unlock the rest, you can either pay per course or become a member for just $10 per month (after a two-week free trial). Skillshare encourages students to learn by uploading and collaborating on projects. While industry leaders like Seth Godin have taught many of Skillshare’s courses, the opportunity to become a teacher is now open to everyone.

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Cody

Cody’s mission is to combine the power of physical movement, technology, and community to help you become your best self. While the emphasis is on yoga and weight training, Cody also offers high-quality video plans for weightlifting and meditation. Plans are available for all levels, including “Gymnastics Core Virtuosity,” “FitFlow,” and “Power of Ceremony”. You can purchase discounted bundles or single plans, most priced at $39.99.

Udacity

Developed with industry giants such as Google, AT&T, Facebook, Salesforce, and Cloudera, Udacity offers hands-on “nanodegree” programs and credentials to help people become web developers, data analysts, and mobile developers. Each Udacity course includes several units with closed-caption video lectures and quizzes to help students understand concepts and reinforce ideas. Udacity programs cost $200 per month and vary in duration.

Lynda

A 20-year veteran in online learning, Lynda has amassed a library of 4000+ video-based online learning courses. Created by a pool of curated authors, the courses teach technical skills for developers, designers, educators, photographers, and marketers, as well as soft skills for business professionals. Unlimited access to all course content will run you about $25 per month after a 10-day free trial.

Udemy

With 35,000 courses and 19,000 instructors, Udemy is the 800-pound gorilla in the online learning space. Courses are offered across a breadth of categories, including business and entrepreneurship, academics, the arts, health and fitness, language, music, and technology. Udemy offers both paid and free courses, depending on the instructor, but most courses are priced between $29 and $299.

CreativeLive

As the name suggests, CreativeLive broadcasts live workshops with creative experts from around the world on topics such as photography, video, design, business, audio, music, crafting, and software development. The site offers more than 600 classes that you can purchase à la carte for about $100 to $200 each. Or, you can watch unlimited live broadcasts for free. Each class includes dozens of lessons and bonus reading materials.

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Treehouse

Treehouse is where beginners and intermediate coders can learn or expand their web development and/or design skills. Treehouse has different tracks depending on your interests — you can start down the ruby web development track and detour into web design without missing a beat. With more than 1,000 high-quality videos, Treehouse is a great investment for beginners. Pricing starts at $25 per month.

Curious

The Curious model — bite-sized sections, attachments, and exercises — is based on the premise that people who “stretch their brain” for a few minutes a day are happier, more successful, and live longer. Curious offers more than 20,000 lessons: You can learn to tie camping knots, master card tricks, train a dog, bake a wedding cake, even develop an awesome memory. The lessons are accessible on any device, including Roku. After a lengthy “CQ Interview” to generate your personal “learning wheel,” you start a 30-day free trial and then pay $89.99 for a year of unlimited access. Curious says 70% of subscription fees are channeled back to the 1,700 teachers who provide the content.

Learnist

Often referred to as the Pinterest of online learning, Learnist is a crowd-sourced learning platform that features “learnboards” — images, videos, and text on topics such as technology, arts, crafts, history, and cooking. Learn to make latte art, win at Yahtzee, nail a job interview, or pack a suitcase like a flight attendant! Though most of the content is user-generated and free, Learnist now offers 99-cent premium boards created by experts.

GMB Fitness

GMB’s mission is to make you better at whatever activities you enjoy. With a curriculum of training programs that build strength, flexibility, and body control, GMB focuses on “movement re-education” and “physical autonomy”. Plans start with foundational movement, move to flexibility and strength, and finally shift to specific skills like using gymnastic rings and parallettes. GMB also offers an extensive library of free science-based articles and tutorials. Pricing varies, but you can purchase training plans individually or in bundles. Unlimited access costs $995.

America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School

Sharpen your knife skills, discover what your slow cooker can really do. Become a master griller, or learn to roast vegetables with America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School. Based on the recipes featured in Cook’s illustrated magazine, this well-established online cooking school offers a catalog of more than 200 courses, including Cooking Basics, Recipe Lessons, Technique Lessons, and In-Depth Courses. Membership also comes with access to the instructors for personalized guidance and support. Membership costs $19.95 per month or $179.95 for a year of unlimited access.

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Guides.co

A marketplace for how-to content on life, work, and small business, Guides.co features hundreds of “guides”. Examples include: ”How to Get Your First 1,000 Customers,” “The Ultimate Kitchen Organizer,” and so on. Structured like a book, the guides feature easy-to-navigate sections, interactive content, and discussion forums on each page. Guides can be updated by the author at any time, so unlike with a book, the content can stay current. Guides.co allows companies to create branded mini-sites to replace existing white papers, e-books, and how-to content. Guide pricing ranges from free (the majority) to $200.

Code.org

A non-profit organization and website, Code.org is on a mission to get adults and children alike interested in coding and computer science.The website includes free coding lessons for beginners. For those who want to dive more deeply into subjects such as javascript and iPad development, Code.org offers curated collections of the best learning resources from partners such as Grock Learning and Kahn Academy.

Duolingo

Do you understand Spanish but stumble when you try to speak it? Want to learn Italian before your trip to Rome? With Duolingo, you can learn 15 different languages in fun, bite-sized lessons. All it takes is 5 to 20 minutes a day. If you’re not a complete beginner, you can take a placement test to determine your starting point. Duolingo has yet to add Asian languages, but it is ad-free and offers all courses free of charge. Taking a test for an official Duolingo certificate of English fluency costs $20. Other language certifications will be added in the future.

Kahn Academy

Providing free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere, the nonprofit Kahn Academy offers practice exercises and instructional videos in math, science, computer programming, history, art history, and economics, including prep for tests like the SAT, GMAT and MCAT. Catering to learners of all ages, Kahn Academy features online tools for parents and teachers who wish to monitor their child’s or student’s progress to see where they may need offline coaching support. Every Kahn Academy class is free; donations are welcomed and encouraged from those who can afford to contribute.

Drawspace

Internationally respected as one of the largest and most comprehensive art education websites, Drawspace is where you can master shading techniques, learn to sketch people and animals, create cartoons, or try your hand at acrylic painting. About 15% of the 428 lessons on Drawspace are free. An annual, unlimited membership costs about $150.

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edX

A nonprofit, open-source learning destination founded by Harvard University and MIT, edX offers nearly 200 wildly diverse courses. Want to learn Mandarin, accounting basics, supply chain management, or how to write a novel? You can do it at no cost, though a small donation is suggested. If you want an official certificate of achievement to add to your LinkedIn profile, you’ll pay about $50 per course.

Rouxbe Cooking School

Rouxbe is a members-only culinary community for motivated home and professional cooks. Offering instructor-guided certification courses for all levels, Rouxbe believes the most effective way to learn to cook is to understand the techniques behind recipes. A one-time initiation fee of $299.95 provides students with full access to site. In addition, students are charged $4.95 monthly for as long as they want access to Rouxbe’s content and service. Rouxbe’s online professional certification courses cost about $1,500, have a limited number of seats, and are designed for serious cooks and aspiring culinary professionals.

Highbrow

Born from a desire to help people gain new knowledge in less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee, Highbrow emails you 5-minute lessons each day for ten days. You can choose from 56 free courses, taking one at a time. Anyone can create a Highbrow email course, so the topics are eclectic, ranging from “Superfoods You Should Know About” to “The Science of Happiness” to “A Brief History of Architecture.”

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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