20 Best Songs About Leadership

Songs about leadership can bring out the best in people by setting an example or encouraging listeners to give it their all and reach their goals. These songs embody the spirit of leadership and can inspire and encourage listeners. 

“You Can Make It If You Try” – Sly & the Family Stone

This song can encourage listeners no matter what they’re trying to do. Whether they want to make a relationship work or achieve something tangible like running that fifth mile or earning a degree, this song pushes them forward and tells them they can do it. 

Many modern songs about leadership 2022 are available, but this tune from 1969 still holds up. 

Many other artists covered the song in different styles, including The Rolling Stones, who recorded it five years earlier as part of their debut album. 

“Hero” – Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey’s eighth number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 was a song about being your hero instead of waiting for someone else to do it. The song hit #1 after its release in 1993 and ranked in the top 100 songs of the decade. 

Another musical superstar, Gloria Estefan, originally recorded the song for the 1992 film Hero after Carey didn’t feel a connection with it. 

Carey’s version became one of her most popular tunes and one of the best songs about leadership and taking charge. 

“Go the Distance” – Michael Bolton

Famed composer Alan Menken scored this inspirational song for the 1997 Disney Studios film Hercules. David Zippel wrote the lyrics about Hercule needing to go the distance and save the day. 

Roger Bart voiced Hercules and sang the song in the film, but Michael Bolton’s recording hit #1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart, making it his ninth chart-topping release. 

It also reached the top 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. 

“I’ll Make a Man Out of You” – Donny Osmond  

Lyricist David Zippel also wrote this song for the 1998 film Mulan, another movie where leadership, heroism, and determination were powerful themes. 

Though BD Wong provided the voice for Li Shang in the film, singer Donny Osmond lent his voice to this song Li Shang sings while trying to get Mulan and the rest of his crew into fighting shape. 

Li Shang’s role is an ultimate leadership archetype who succeeds in leading his charges to victory. 

“Be a Light” – Thomas Rhett 

This uplifting tune is one of the songs about leadership 2022 still needs. Rhett wrote this song about making a difference in the world by being a light during a dark time. 

He released it in 2020 after the Covid pandemic was in full swing and donated the proceeds from the songs to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund

The song features vocals from a few top country artists who wanted to lend their voices to the message. Hillary Scott, Christ Tomlin, Keith Urban, and longtime country superstar Reba McEntire appear on the track. 

“Girl on Fire” – Alicia Keys

This hit by Alicia Keys isn’t as much about leading others to greatness as it is an example for others. The girl on fire in the song finds the strength to get what she wants out of life without letting anyone hold her back. 

Keys’ song is especially powerful for girls and women who might be looking for a way forward and can take the lyrics as permission, if they need it, to be who they are and take charge of their lives. 

Keys wrote this track after being inspired by her marriage and giving birth to her son. The song was one of the biggest hits of 2012, selling over 5 million copies. 

“Never Give Up” – Sia

This emotional song about never giving up appears on the soundtrack for Lion, a 2016 film about a young man who fell asleep on a train in India at age five and lost his family. 

Based on a true story, the movie tells the inspirational and heartwrenching tale of his adoption by Australian parents and his search for his birth family 25 years later. Dev Patel plays the lead role, and Oscar-winning superstar Nicole Kidman plays his adoptive mother. 

“Never Give Up” encapsulates the film’s message about taking the lead no matter what life throws in the way and never giving up. 

“Unstoppable” – Sia

Australian singer Sia’s songs often have messages of strength, achievement, and never stopping without reaching one’s dreams and goals. Her music resonated with people worldwide and earned her nine Grammy nominations and almost a dozen ARIA Awards. 

This song about being unstoppable and not letting the world or anyone slow her down became a promotional song in 2016 used by Major League Baseball

It’s appeared in commercials for Samsung and Lancôme, but it’s an emotional and uplifting anthem for anyone who wants to power through and be a leader within her own life. 

“Brave” – Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles’ story about writing “Brave” involves inspiration from a gay friend who wanted to come out and the difficulties surrounding that. The song is about saying what you feel and being brave. 

Jack Antonoff, the lead singer of Bleachers, co-wrote the song with Bareilles, who earned a Grammy nomination for her song performance. It also appeared on the TV series Glee, sung by Naya Rivera and Lea Michelle. 

“Brave” was the singer’s third hit in the Top 40 in the US, and it hit the top 100 on several European and Asian charts. 

“Stand” – Rascal Flatts

“Stand” was the seventh #1 country hit for Rascal Flatts, a group founded in 1999 that had success almost immediately. It’s one of the songs about leadership 2022 listeners can still appreciate 15 years after its release. 

The lyrics stress that no matter how lost a person feels and how hard life gets, they can look within themselves to persevere. It’s an encouraging anthem for the times when life knocks someone down. 

This song ended 2007 at #11 on the year-end Billboard Country Songs chart. 

“Not All Heroes Wear Capes” – Owl City 

Many songs about leadership and power have lyrics about standing strong. Some have lyrics about getting back up when life is cruel. 

Others are about a specific person who embraces leadership qualities, like this song about a dad who’s his son’s hero. The lyrics stress that no matter how big the son gets, he’ll always look up to his dad. 

It’s a song about the leadership qualities of a good father that makes a sweet song to honor a dad.

“Whatever It Takes” – Imagine Dragons 

This fast-paced, breathless song by Imagine Dragons is perfect for working out or playing sports. It encourages the listener to do whatever it takes to reach their goals and to keep striving to win.

The 2017 pop song is on their third album, Evolve, and appears in the Madden NFL 18 video game. It hit #12 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 and often plays before home Utah Jazz basketball games. 

The group performed this song in Las Vegas, their hometown, before two Stanley Cup Finals games in 2018. 

“With My Own Two Hands” – Ben Harper 

This track by Ben Harper is one of the best songs about leadership and power found in every person. The funky tune explains that people can help change the world with their actions. 

The song tells listeners that they have the power to use their two hands to make the world a brighter, safer, better place with one small gesture and action at a time. 

One version appears in the Curious George film soundtrack for children. 

“Fight Song” – Rachel Platten

This top ten song sold over six million copies in the US and became the anthem for girls and women everywhere with its inspiring lyrics. It became a hit in Australia and New Zealand before charting the US and UK. 

The lyrics are about the changes a person can make, no matter how small a person is or how small they feel. It encourages listeners to be strong, like the singer, who explains how much strength and fight she has left. 

Platten’s hit appeared in political campaigns, commercials, and numerous television shows. 

“The Climb” – Miley Cyrus

Pop and country singer Miley Cyrus, of Hannah Montana fame, made a name for herself after she left her popular Disney Channel series. 

This song is about the struggles of reaching for goals and the hopeful outlook that it’s important to appreciate, not only achievements but the climb it takes to get there. 

The hopeful lyrics are about embracing the journey, not just the destination. It appeared on the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack in 2009. 

“Dog Days Are Over” – Florence + The Machine 

Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine credits an art piece by Ugo Rondinone as the inspiration for this uplifting song. His art sign read “Dog Days Are Over” in a curve with rainbow colors. 

The phrase “dog days” refers to Sirius, the dog star, at its closest point to earth when animals are supposed to get sleepy. 

When it moves away, anything holding people down is moving out of their lives with the star.

“Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” – Starship

“Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” has romantic lyrics, with each singer telling the other they’ll be together no matter what. Despite the personal nature of the song, it became an anthem about not letting anything or anyone stop a person from reaching their goals. 

This #1 Billboard Hot 100 song was the theme from the 1987 film Mannequin and earned a Best Original Song Academy Award nomination. 

The song was Starship’s third #1 single. The band’s previous incarnations (Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship) had several songs and albums that hit the charts from the 70s to the 90s. 

“You’ve Got to Stand for Something” – Aaron Tippin

Some great songs about leadership clean the clutter out of your brain when you hear them because their message is so clear and powerful. This song is one of those with a wonderful story about family, especially a father who’s a true leader. 

His message to his son throughout his lifetime is that he has to stand up for what he believes if he doesn’t want to compromise himself and his integrity. The tune is one of the best blue-collar, patriotic, family-oriented country songs from the 90s. 

On Bob Hope’s USO tour, Aaron Tippin sang this top ten country hit for the troops during the Gulf War.

“Confident” – Demi Lovato

This song about being herself and being the boss is one of the songs about leadership that is especially powerful for women. The lyrics encourage listeners to embrace their confidence, stand their ground, and tell others to get out of their way. 

The song sold over 3 million copies and became an anthem for self-empowerment and trusting in oneself. It’s uplifting for people who want to increase their confidence to pursue their dreams. 

“Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson

Some songs about leadership clean the way for the listener to understand their meaning without metaphors or figurative language. In this one, Michael Jackson explains that he will change the world by making a change in himself. 

He sings about hunger, homelessness, and major world problems that seem so overwhelming that it’s hard for each person to feel they can do something. But he explains that each person can change, and each small change can become a wave of change to make the world better. 

Final Thoughts

These songs about leadership and power include personal lyrics and broader messages encouraging others to stay strong. They all embody the spirits of leadership and optimism, so they make great pick-me-ups and inspirational listening. 


Ivan Yaskey is a Philly-born EDM and synthpop enthusiast and interviewer who recently relocated to beautiful Boston, MA.

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