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


Try—P!nk


Unstoppable—Sia


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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Jo Miller

A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb, and thrive in their corporate careers. Jo has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops for women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Jo is founding editor of BeLeaderly.com. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.net and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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