• Total Courses
    7 required, 1 elective
  • CEUs | Contact Hours
    4.8 CEUs | 48 contact hours
  • Cost
  • Format
    Primarily online
  • Time to Complete
    As little as 3–4 months
  • Funding Resources

What Is Leadership?

Leadership is the ability to guide or influence others. A good leader is able to articulate an inspiring vision, set a direction, and map out a plan to reach a desired goal. They are good communicators who cultivate trusting, authentic relationships.

Leadership is an active thing. A leader has to own everything they’re responsible for, including the people under their supervision or on their team.
Hugh Pruitt, Senior IT Architecture Consultant for UnitedHealth Group

Gain Confidence and Credibility with a Leadership Certificate

Top organizations are seeking leaders who can collaborate, think critically, manage their time, and deal with conflict. Whether you’re aiming to step into a leadership role or want to excel in your current position, you will gain confidence and credibility to excel in any field.

In this 48-hour leadership certificate program, you’ll learn to:

  • hone your interpersonal skills and improve your professional relationships.
  • enhance your ability to manage multiple priorities efficiently.
  • get better at solving problems.
  • strategically influence with or without authority
  • enrich teams and projects through effective prioritization and communication.

Career Outlook

Leadership Essentials Certificate Core Courses

To earn this Leadership Certificate, you'll take 7 required courses (42 contact hours) and choose one elective (6 hours) from the options in the section below this one.

Funding and Discounts

The U's professional development programs are affordable because they can be completed in relatively short order—sometimes within a few months—which can save you both time and money. What's more, there are other opportunities you can explore to potentially bring the cost down even further.


  • CCAPS offers scholarships of $500 to $2,500 to Minnesota residents who meet eligibility requirements.
  • If you're not employed, you may be able to take advantage of federal or state funding. Contact your CareerForce center to inquire.
  • Your organization may have funds set aside for employee education. Read about the benefits of employer investment in career development.


  • When you register and pay for all courses in the certificate at once, you'll receive up to a 10% discount.
  • University of Minnesota Alumni Association members receive a 10% discount.
  • U of M staff get 50% off most professional development programs.

See Discounts, Scholarships, and Other Funding for more information and possible exclusions to discounts.


The cost of the Leadership Essentials Certificate is $3,360–$3,410, depending on which elective you choose. But if you register and pay for all the courses at once, we'll give you up to an 11% or $386 discount! (Discount may vary based on your course selection.)

 If you have questions about the registration process or payment options, or you need to transfer or cancel your registration, contact the registration team:

612-625-2900 | ccapsreg@umn.edu

Option 1

Enroll, Register, and Pay for All Courses Now

  • Earn up to an 11% discount
  • Enroll for free
  • Register and pay now, make needed changes later
  • Get program updates

Enroll and Register for All Courses Now

Option 2

Enroll in Certificate Now, Register and Pay for Courses Individually

  • Enroll for free
  • Register and pay for courses at your convenience
  • Get program updates
  • U of M employees: choose this option to receive your discount

Enroll in Certificate Now

Enrollment Advisor

Shanta Bhoelai, enrollment advisor


Shanta Bhoelai

I can help you choose which professional development programs are the best fit to meet your career goals. I am here to answer your questions regarding specific programs, courses, or other career topics you have on your mind. 

Don’t hesitate to send me an email or schedule an online appointment. I'm here for YOU!

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a Leadership Essentials Certificate?

The Leadership Essentials Certificate program offers training in the skills that leaders need to be successful, such as the ability to influence others and develop a collaborative and productive team. 

To get a Leadership Essentials Certificate, learners complete seven required courses, including Foundations in Business Writing to improve communication skills, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving to manage complex issues, and Intentional Influence for practical leadership skills. Other required courses are Emotional Intelligence; Team Communications; and Managing Your Priorities, Time, and Energy.

In addition, students choose an elective to further their leadership training and enhance their capabilities. Elective options include Project Management Foundations, Presenting with Impact, Communicating Across Cultures, and Allyship: Creating an Inclusive Workplace. These courses can help professionals develop skills essential for their roles and improve their overall leadership abilities.

What are leadership skills?

Anyone can manage people, but it takes specific skills to be a leader. Although some people are born with personality traits that make them effective in that role, anyone can develop leadership skills with proper training. Leadership often tops the list of skills employers look for when hiring staff. This skill is critical for those looking to get ahead in their current position and to advance in their careers. Regardless of the company, successful leaders possess these leadership skills:

Effective Communication. Both oral and written communication skills are important for leaders. Leaders know how to engage with people and promote inclusion and support diversity.

Critical Thinking. Leaders are able to identify problems and potential challenges, and cultivate an innovative solution. That requires effective problem-solving skills and strategic thinking. Leaders look at the big picture and then break it down into smaller parts to work through problems. They analyze each solution to see how it will impact the whole.

The Ability to Motivate. There is little skill involved in just telling people what to do. Instead, true leaders influence the actions of others to motivate them to succeed. Leadership involves identifying the best people for each task and creating actionable steps. 

Emotional Intelligence. Maintaining a professional yet motivating presence is a challenge all leaders face. Leaders analyze the strengths of others and build on them to improve their performance without passing judgment. They can express themselves appropriately and communicate without bias or emotion influencing their thinking. Overly emotional interactions may lead to less than desirable outcomes.

Time Management. Poor time management distracts leaders and keeps them from managing their priorities effectively. Instead, they need to be able to stop, consider their current strategy, and refocus as necessary to make the best use of time.

Conflict Resolution. Any time people work together, there is a potential for conflict. A strong leader can analyze a situation, identify sources of conflict, and create solutions. In addition, they need to manage confrontation as it happens and control their own emotions in the process.

Why is leadership important?

People have a natural tendency to follow strong leaders. They provide guidance and minimize potential threats to productivity. They apply organizational tactics and critical thinking to improve work performance.

Leaders are vital to the functioning of an organization. They are the ones with a clear understanding of the needs of their organization and can harness each team member’s skills in a way that helps both the employees and the employer find success. Leadership is a crucial resource for organizations to help improve overall efficiency and achieve their goals. 


Leadership Skills (Indeed)

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