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Compare the Best Management Training Programs

Congratulations, your team is expanding! It might also mean it's time to align everyone on what it means to be a good manager. In this guide, we'll go over the types of manager development programs out there, how to compare them, and a list of the top options.

Types of management training

  • Online. Many programs are delivered via video, audio, or written courses, making it easier for you to get access to your entire team. While in-person training can also be more engaging, the online component ensures everyone can participate.

  • In-person. A lot of programs want you to travel to a central location, or send a facilitator to your office. If you're a remote-first company, this might not be an option for you. But if you're willing to consider individual development resource budgets, you could conceivably send your employees to any in-person training that works for them.

  • Senior management. Large firms like Dale Carnegie will have lots of nuanced courses geared toward one aspect of executive leadership.

  • New managers. Fresh-faced managers who are newly responsible for a direct report, have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. Get them off on the right foot with management training geared specifically toward the challenges of new managers.

  • Free / DIY. Sure, you could put together your own resources with free management courses on the web, but you will lose far more than the cost of a course in productivity, lost talent, and HR intervention. The old adage applies, you get what you pay for.

How to Compare Management Trainings

When looking for the right program for your organization, ultimately what works for you is going to be some combination of price per person, value you receive, and implementation options that work for your team. When doing your research, also:

  • Focus on relevancy: Look for trainings that offer specific and practical skills directly applicable to your management role, or to strengths you are looking to build or enhance.

  • Check reputation and reviews: Quality depends largely on the strength of the content and the facilitator. Research the reputation of the company and read reviews from previous participants to gauge the program's effectiveness.

  • Consider delivery methods: Determine if the training is conducted in-person, online, or a blend of both. Choose a format that works for your team's learning styles and schedule.

  • Be confident in the expertise of trainers: Ensure that the trainers possess substantial experience and expertise in the field of management.

  • Look for interactive elements: Engaging activities, case studies, and group discussions can enhance the learning experience and provide practical insights.

  • Seek personalized attention: Find out if the training offers individualized feedback and coaching to help you apply the concepts to your specific managerial challenges. Often, a few "sounding board" sessions might be included for the facilitator.

  • Check for facilitation and post-training support: Consider whether the training includes ongoing support or resources to reinforce learning and assist with implementation.

  • Compare cost-effectiveness: Compare the cost of the training (total and per person) with the value it provides, taking into account the content, duration, and additional resources offered.

  • Avoid overpromises: Beware of salespeople that make unrealistic claims or promise instant transformation without substantiated evidence.

  • Always trust your gut: Ultimately, trust your intuition and choose a program that resonates with your goals, values, and aspirations.

Finding the right management training means looking at the total cost, in relation to the impact of the value each individual receives, so that you can get effective delivery within your budget.

Should you DIY?

If you have no dedicated budget yet, or you're committed to trying a DIY format first, start with some cheap or free courses that individuals can explore on their own. This works if you have a small team and want to suggest short, easy courses based on their strengths.

The issue with content library subscriptions per person, is that after a year it starts to add up to almost the same cost as sending everyone through a robust, tailored manager training. This is a great way to get started, but keep in mind that you'll want to upgrade as your team expands.

10+ Top Management Trainings

$ Free or Cheap-ish Options

Skillsoft: 14 Effective Strategies for Personal Leadership Growth in the Workplace

Skillsoft's leadership development program addresses the evolving needs of organizations in response to changing workforce dynamics. This engaging program caters to modern learners, with courses focusing on the impact of the digital era on leadership. Topics covered include agility, virtual leadership, the role of technology in leadership, managing disruption and distraction, and fostering a customer-centric culture. Skillsoft's unique program delves into current challenges faced by leaders, particularly those managing younger individuals who may grapple with engagement, disruption, and loyalty.

Mind Tools: Leadership courses

MindTools is a monthly membership to a content library that is full of courses to further career skills and leadership characteristics. While it's a great DIY option, it won't replace a rigorous course that gets everyone on the same page in your organization. But for $15 bucks a month, you might as well see if it's worth gifting a month or two to see if it's worth it.

OpenLearn: Managing people

OpenLearn provides a series of management and leadership courses, offered free of charge through the online platform of the Open University. There are a lot of courses to choose from for leaders at various levels. A product out of the UK, be aware of any content that is culturally off for Americans (our humor is... not dry).


For the Budget Conscious Startup and Scaleup

Want to Work There: Training for Modern Manager

Want to Work There strives to be honest and transparent about what makes a great leader and uses modern, digestible lessons to deliver those skills to your team. The Training for the Modern Manager takes into account that today's workforce can't be generalized, empathy is an asset, and that everything from changes in gender norms to challenging biases, influences how we manage.

The course is audio-based, so students can sit on a sunny bench or in a coffee shop – instead of in front of a laptop.

This curriculum is purchased once, and kept in your internal knowledge base forever, so you can use it as new managers join your team. Now, everyone can be on the same page about what it means to be a great manager at your organization.

  • Cost: One-time cost of $12,5o0

  • 12 weeks, 2-3 hours per week. Participants self-guide through audio lessons and foundational activities, then meet to discuss the lessons, either 1:1 with a trained manager or with a small group cohort.

  • Read more about the program and request a free demo

FranklinCovey: The 7 Habits for Managers® Essential Skills and Tools for Leading Teams

FranklinCovey offers leadership development programs that are based on his famous framework of the 7 habits. The goal is ultimately more socially & emotionally intelligent managers, allowing them to be effective leaders and not just managers. Their courses emphasize building effective thought and relationship habits.

MIT: Leading Organization for High Velocity Performance

MIT's Sloan School of Management presents compelling in-person and virtual trainings for leadership and management. Many of the course durations are 6 weeks, online, and require 4-6 hours per week. This course focuses on the secrets that big, successful companies – like Google and Tesla – use to manage high performing teams.

Global Knowledge

Global Knowledge is an online training resource that collaborates with leading technology organizations to offer comprehensive education, resources, and training opportunities. Among their offerings, they provide a leadership and training program featuring courses designed to develop the skills necessary for becoming an inspirational and dynamic leader.


Highly custom, highly-priced

Dale Carnegie: Leadership Training for Managers

Dale Carnegie has been around since about 1930, so it's a safe bet that the curriculum is tried and tested. The training equips participants with innovative strategies to engage and unite their teams effectively, while building workforces capable of handling challenges. The primary goal is to enhance collaboration, communication, goal attainment, talent retention, and to foster loyalty and commitment among team members.

Center for Creative Leadership (CCL): Leadership Development Program

CCL offers a range of leadership development programs tailored toward specific levels of managers, from Individual Contributor up to Executive Leadership. The LDP is their flagship, longest-running program, covering topics such as leading teams, strategic leadership, and change management. CCL emphasizes experiential learning and practical application, which makes their prgoram more intensive and also, more expensive.

Harvard Business School (HBS) Executive Education: Courses for Individuals and custom plans for Organizations

HBS Executive Education provides a wide range of management training programs for leaders at different career stages. These programs cover topics like general management, leadership, negotiation, and innovation. HBS programs are known for their academic rigor and practical relevance. And, prestige, which may be where the steep cost comes from.

Ken Blanchard Companies

The Ken Blanchard Companies provides leadership and management training programs centered around situational leadership, employee engagement, and performance management. They offer workshops, coaching, and consulting services.

American Management Association (AMA)

AMA offers a comprehensive range of management and leadership training programs. Their courses cover topics such as strategic thinking, project management, communication skills, and employee development.

Not sure where to start?

Get guidance and a no-pressure, no sales consideration call. I'll guide you through the options out there and we'll compare it to the Want to Work There program. Your success is my success, as long as you end up with the right tools for your team.

Image of Harvard campus where the Management Essentials training is held.

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