52 Motivational Leadership Songs
Songs for Leaders to Inspire and Motivate
You're that lucky leader of a work project, sports team, or local organization who has the unenviable challenge of transforming a mild-mannered, self-doubting group into an invincible force to be reckoned with. Doing so requires that you do the following things well:
- build their confidence
- inspire them to work hard in the direction of challenging goals
- strive for excellence and
- encourage them to rely on each other for support.
Music can play a key role in kicking motivation into high gear, whether you're inciting one individual, a small team, or an entire nation to act. Select songs that fit your occasion, specific message, and organizational culture. We have a long list of pop, rock, and country motivational leadership songs that will do just the trick.
My typical level of motivation and leadership - (Pick the answer that BEST suits your style)
1. "Unstoppable" by The Score
Embrace your mission and go crush the competition. The pulsing beat of this 2016 indie rock song plus its esprit de corp lyrics make it the perfect mantra for a sales meeting (or any situation in which a leader needs to galvanize the troops to positive action). The song encourages the rest of the team with the message that they "can be heroes," "have all that we ever want," and that nothing can keep them down. The 2017 World Series of Poker featured "Unstoppable" as its theme song.
2. "Brave" by Sara Bareilles
Unleash your inner power. The message of this pop ballad from 2013 is uplifting and encouraging. One person provides the needed motivational push to another to be their best by inspiring them to cast fear aside, start speaking up and sharing more of their amazing selves with the world. That's bravery!
3. "Dog Days Are Over" by Florence + The Machine
This powerful, pounding survival anthem from 2008 is a resounding "woo-hoo" that one has made it through the worst of times and now faces a brighter future. Come on, who wouldn't want happiness to smack into them like a freight train or to hit them like a bullet in the back? Hello, better times!
The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses
'Cause here they come!
4. "Confident" by Demi Lovato
If you need to rev yourself (or your team) up before a big presentation, then make listening to this commanding 2015 pop song part of your preparation strategy. It's your game, and you run this show. Own your confidence then drop the freaking mic.
If you're a female leader, add this to your personal playlist of songs about female empowerment to help keep you at the top of your game.
5. "You Gotta Be" by Des'ree
How adept are you at adapting to change? This catchy pop song was an international hit in 1994 and made Des'ree one of the many one-hit wonders of the 1990s. (Hey, it's better than being a no-hit wonder, am I right?)
The song upholds the value of interpersonal agility, or being tough and strong in some situations and cool and calm in other situations. Change happens. Leaders champion flexibility as a coping mechanism.
6. "Get'cha Head in the Game" by Zac Efron
If you're gonna win big, you can't expect success to just fall in your lap. You have to make it happen, and that will require concentration.
Get your head in the game. This pop song is from the 2006 High School Musical motion picture soundtrack, and it gives the supremely useful advice to focus on the task, minimize distractions, and take appropriate chances. Go ahead and unleash your effort and energy in the name of winning!
7. "I'm Gonna Be Somebody" by Travis Tritt
Successful people know that it often takes years of striving before you're finally at the top of your game. This 1990 country song will motivate you to continually work hard and pay your dues so you can achieve the accolades you deserve.
The song describes a young singer who aspires to stardom even though his dreams are a long shot. When others try to dissuade him, he doubles down, relying on the confidence that all of his hard work will be worth it one day:
Late at night you could hear him say, he'd say
I'm gonna be somebody
One of these days I'm gonna break these chains
I'm gonna be somebody someday
You can bet your hard-earned dollar I will.
8. "Hey, Look Ma I Made It" by PANIC! At the Disco
Hey, look Ma, I made it
Hey, look Ma, I made it
Everything's comin' up aces, aces
If it's a dream, don't wake me, don't wake me
I said, Hey, look Ma, I made it.
Are you living your dream? Brendon Urie, the lead vocalist for PANIC! At the Disco, describes how challenging it is to make your mark on the world and stay true to your passion, especially in a competitive industry. Distractions, hardships, and people who don't want the best for you can easily trip you up. Don't let them mess with your mojo.
This contagious 2019 pop song is ultimately about resilience on the uneasy road to success. Strong leaders demonstrate that both failures and triumphs can be valuable. It's the struggle and what you learn along way that make you who you are.
If you want to celebrate achieving your goals, make a playlist of songs about success and winning and show others how you're living the dream.
9."The Champion" by Carrie Underwood (featuring Lucacris)
You may be a 9-to-5er, but I bet you're not just another guy (or gal) in Accounting, Sales, or Maintenance. Nope. Look in that mirror and tell yourself that you're a badass who was Born. To. Win. Then drop and give us a couple of push-ups because you, my indomitable friend, have "CHAMPION" written all over.
When leaders want to pump up the troops and motivate them to exert extra effort, it helps to inspire them to believe that the power of the possible resides deep within. This 2018 pop song will do just that:
I am invincible, unbreakable
They knock me down, I get up again
I am the champion.
10. "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us" by Starship
And we can build this thing together
Stand this stormy weather
Nothing's gonna stop us now.
Whether you're a part of a married couple, a sports team, or a workgroup, people who line up on the same side have to stick together against the odds if they want good results. Use this 1987 rock song to reinforce common goals and the importance of a shared vision.
11. "Go Big or Go Home" by American Authors
What began as a sales mantra in the 1990s has become a life philosophy for some people, and this 2015 upbeat rock song celebrates it. "Go big or go home" means to either abandon all self-control and invest your maximum energy and effort into attaining a goal or don't attempt the goal at all. Does the all-or-nothing strategy motivate you?
12. "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield
The very dead Greek philosopher Epictetus famously said, "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters." This uplifting 2004 pop tune encourages you to "live your life with arms wide open" starting now by embracing the opportunities of life. You have the power to write your own story, and a great leader will help you to become your best.
13. "With My Own Two Hands" by Ben Harper
What have you done to make the world a better place? Leaders can stir each of us to make the world a better place than how we found it—brighter, safer, kinder. This up-tempo, reggae-infused tune from 2002 features a narrator who is using his own two hands to build a better future. He advocates that you do the same. Are you up to the task?
14. "You Can Make It If You Try" by Sly & The Family Stone
Who wouldn't want an extra boost of confidence in the form of this buoyant message? The 1969 funk-tinged tune reminds you that yes, you can make it if you try. Go get what's coming to you in this world by extending your best effort. The rewards will be worth it.
15. "Whatever It Takes" by Imagine Dragons
We live in a dangerous world full of negativity, according to this 2017 pop song that is filled with adrenaline. Even so, if you maintain steadfast commitment to your goal, then you can overcome obstacles and naysayers that threaten to hold you back. Be bold and don't be afraid to go all-in. Break those chains that encumber you because you were born for this.
16. "You've Got To Stand For Something" by Aaron Tippin
Taking a stand on important issues—especially high stakes and controversial ones—is sometimes necessary. The man in this compelling 1990 country song recounts his father's moral leadership in standing up for what he believed in. There were certain values he'd go to the mat for, and the narrator wishes that more people demonstrated his father's honorable refusal to comprise his integrity.
The narrator's father left him with this sage counsel:
You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything
You've got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
Never compromise what's right and uphold your family name
You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
Add this meaningful country song to your playlist of songs that give life advice.
17. "Dream On" by Aerosmith
We are each driven to make our mark on the world, and I bet you are no exception. This classic rock power ballad from 1973 encourages the listener to pay their dues in life and to passionately chase after their dreams, particularly since there's no guarantee of tomorrow. "Dream until your dreams come true."
Although lead singer Stephen Tyler wrote the song when he was only 17 years old, it became the band's signature song and Aerosmith's first major hit. "Dream On" is one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and is listed on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
18. "Hall of Fame" by The Script featuring will.i.am
Motivate yourself to go further or psych up the whole room with this invigorating pop hit from 2012. The tune saw worldwide success for both its energy and upbeat message. It spurs listeners to set a personal vision, master the skills needed to achieve their goals, and never give up. Do it for a genuine reason, whether people, pride, reputation, or country, but do it NOW rather than waiting for luck and the perfect moment. If you apply yourself you can accomplish mindbending feats and go down in history.
19. "Never Give Up" by Sia
One of my favorite sayings is a Japanese proverb about dogged determination, "Fall down seven times, stand up eight," and that refusal to give up is what this 2016 inspirational pop song by Sia is about.
Although the narrator is haunted by failure and suffers setbacks on her quest, she understands that she holds the power to triumph in the end. Leaders encourage others to work through great difficulty. They also model the behavior themselves by demonstrating a passion to succeed in the face of challenge.
20. "Get Along" by Kenny Chesney
We are all unified by similar goals to enjoy our lives as well as our relationships with friends and family. Great leaders can find common bonds and bring people together. This folksy 2018 country song urges listeners to find some way to connect with others in a positive way amidst strife and find common ground. In the end, all we have is each other.
Even More Leadership & Motivation Songs
21. Girl on Fire
22. I Won't Back Down
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
23. Ain't No Stopping Us Now
McFadden & Whitehead
24. Push It to the Limit
25. When You Believe
Mariah Carey (featuring Whitney Houston)
26. Fight Song
27. Don’t Stop Believin'
28. Keep On Pushing
29. O-o-h Child
31. Gonna Fly Now (Theme Song from Rocky)
34. The Climb
35. Keep Your Head Up
36. Eye of the Tiger
37. Marchin On
38. We Are the Champions
39. You've Got Another Thing Comin'
42. The Distance
43. Livin' on a Prayer
44. The Middle
Jimmy Eat World
45. (We Could Be) Heroes
Alesso (featuring Tove Lo)
47. Fire Under My Feet
48. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Sia (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
50. Roll with It
51. You Get What You Give
52. Hold Your Head Up
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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