25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you feel fired up, unstoppable, and ready to run the world?

It was one of those conference moments I’ll never forget: Carly Fiorina had just wrapped up her keynote and was basking in the applause as hundreds of women streamed out of the main auditorium toward the Career Fair. I was standing at my booth, ready to meet and greet the hordes of excited, pumped up and friendly women, when suddenly I realized what music was playing in the background and cringed:

She was a fast machine. She kept her motor clean.
She was the best damn woman that I ever seen.
She had the sightless eyes telling me no lies.
Knocking me out with those American thighs…

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love AC/DC. (I’m Australian, so it’s pretty much compulsory to head bang every time I hear that particular song.) I do, however, question the sanity of whoever thought a song like “You Shook Me All Night Long” was an appropriate choice for the playlist at a professional businesswomen’s conference! Or, really, any kind of professional conference anywhere.

(As it happens, I spend a lot of time at women’s leadership conferences and have experienced quite a few cringeworthy moments. Like, for example, the C-level executive who was keynoting his manufacturing company’s women’s leadership conference. His message to seventy of the firm’s top high-potential women leaders was that if they truly wanted to advance into senior leadership, they were going to have to make tough choices, and should not spend too much time on leisure activities like “huntin’ and fishin.’” I wish I’d asked him what he thought about golf.)

So anyway, when it came to running creating a playlist of leadership songs for my workshops and the other corporate and professional women’s events, I did a brainstormed with the Be Leaderly team. The songs needed to be energizing, uplifting, and inclusive. We vetted the lyrics for naughty words and phrases (Sorry, Beyoncé.) And since then, people have been asking us to share the playlist. It even occasionally doubles as my running playlist.

Watch the YouTube playlist or listen to it on iTunes.

Brave—Sara Bareilles

Can’t Get Enough Of Myself—Santigold

Confident—Demi Lovato

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself—Jess Glynne

Doubt—Mary J. Blige

Fearless—Jasmine Murray

Fight Song—Rachel Platten

Girl On Fire—Alicia Keys

Happy Girl—Martina McBride

Independent Women, Pt. 1—Destiny’s Child

 I Will Survive— Gloria Gaynor

Just A Girl—No Doubt

Most Girls—Hailee Steinfeld

Never Give Up—Sia

Ray Of Light—Madonna

Roar—Katy Perry

Run The World (Girls)—Beyoncé

Shake It Off—Taylor Swift

Step By Step—Whitney Houston

Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)—Kelly Clarkson

Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed—Shania Twain

The Champion—Carrie Underwood



Wings—Little Mix

Try one of these next time you need a little “managerial mojo music” to lighten your leadership load.

Help me keep adding to it! What are your favorite leadership songs—the ones that get you fired up and ready to run the world?

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