Is your team down in the dumps? Try sending out some of these inspirational quotes.
June 6, 2019 10 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Your employees are tired. They look down and overworked. They’ve even started operating on their own and have lost focus on the company mission — but you are so close to reaching your next goal!
You just need motivation, and you need it fast. At the same time, you know that a few words and a slight shift in your employees’ mindset could make all the difference.
So, a solution: Find a good quote. Send the right quote at the right time, and it must might turn your staff’s day around completely. Here are 17 quotes you can use to motivate your team, and maybe even yourself, when you need unity fast.
1. “Individual commitment to a group effort: That is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” — Vince Lombardi
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi knew the importance of teamwork. He recognized that the success of a team is dependent on every team member working toward a common goal. That’s why his team won the first two Super Bowls in NFL history. It’s important to emphasize to all team members that every role, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is valuable to the team’s success overall.
2. “None of us is as smart as all of us.” — Ken Blanchard
This is another great entry in the “every single one of us is important” category. No individual team member has the knowledge and experience of the team as a whole. That’s why it’s important that team members hear out one another’s opinions, learn from their peers, and respect others.
3. “Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller
This is an excellent quote to offer some of the “loners” on your team. It’s important that team members don’t separate from the group and follow their own guidelines for what they think is best. Instead, they need to work towards the success of the team as a whole.
4. “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision, the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” — Andrew Carnegie
If you want to learn how to be successful, you can’t do much better than listen to advice from one of the pioneers of the Industrial Revolution. Some entrepreneurs are famous for starting businesses, Andrew Carnegie helped launch an entire industry (the steel industry). He couldn’t have done that on his own. He needed a team to help him. In the quotation, he talks about how teams united in purpose can achieve uncommon results. Considering that he sold his steel company to J.P. Morgan for about $370 billion in today’s dollars (as a proportion of GDP), it’s safe to say he practiced what he preached.
5. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” — Michael Jordan
To this day, many people think that Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player in the history of the sport. However, he also knew about the importance of teamwork.
A fair team can win “games.” That is, it can reach some milestones and achieve some of its objectives. A great team, on the other hand, can win “championships.” It can create a business that’s the next Amazon, Airbnb or Uber.
6. “Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.” — Brian Tracy
Motivational speaker Brian Tracy made an excellent point about teamwork in the above quotation: Success is almost literally impossible unless there is teamwork involved. It’s a good quote to share with your employees after reaching a milestone because it reinforces the notion that goals are only achievable if the team works together.
7. “In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, it’s deadly.” — Mark Sanborn
For a team to function effectively, there must be open channels of communication. It’s a sign that there’s something chronically wrong with a team when members don’t feel like they can voice concerns, express disagreements or offer suggestions. Make sure everybody on your team knows that dialogue is always welcome.
8. “If you can laugh together, you can work together” — Robert Orben
Not everything about teamwork should be strictly business. Team members who can socialize well together will also function better when it comes time to meet company goals. Make sure your teams get some fun time together, whether it’s at a sporting event, happy hour or some other social activity.
9: “The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.” — Lee Iacocca
Lee Iacocca was ene of the great business leaders of the 20th century. That was in part due to the fact that he understood the importance of leading by example.
What “speed” are you moving at, toward the achievement of your team’s goals? That’s the same speed that your team will move. Don’t expect your team members to be more committed to success than you are. However, they will often be equally as committed.
10. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team” — Phil Jackson
Basketball coach Phil Jackson understood that there’s a mutually beneficial relationship between teams and team members. Sure, it’s important that individuals within a team work toward a common goal. However, it’s also important that teams support individual members when necessary. When a team member is feeling down or discouraged, other members should offer support. When a team member has accomplished something significant, other members should offer praise.
11. “Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses and their concerns without fear of reprisal.” — Patrick Lencioni
The key takeaway from this quotation is transparency. Team members need to be open with one another and should be able to read teammates like a book. It’s important that everybody on the team offer a non-judgmental and supportive attitude to people who have screwed up. It’s also important for team members to willingly acknowledge their shortcomings and opportunities for development. That way, assignments can be allocated based on a team member’s strengths.
12. “You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.” — Jim Stovall
Motivational speaker Jim Stovall’s advice isn’t only for leaders in teams, it’s also for individual team members. The takeaway here is that it shouldn’t be up to a team leader alone to offer positive reinforcement to team members when they hit their goals. It’s important that everybody heap praise on teammates who’ve made significant accomplishments. That kind of business culture will create a powerful team.
13. “There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.” — George Shinn
The owner of the Charlotte Hornets basketball team freely admitted that he was not a self-made man. He achieved success with the help of others.
This might seem like a quotation that’s meant only for leaders. However, it’s important that all team members understand that everybody’s individual success is tied to the success of the team as a whole. If they understand that, they might work a little harder to make the team successful.
14. “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This one is deep, but it’s also vital to understand. Team members shouldn’t just have a myopic view of team goals. In other words, they shouldn’t be given assignments in a bubble with little to no knowledge about how their tasks lead toward success for the organization. Instead, team members should be fully aware of the “big picture” and realize how their individual responsibilities are part of a larger business strategy. Don’t teach team members to hammer planks. Talk to them about the ocean.
15. “There’s nothing greater in the world than when somebody on the team does something good, and everybody gathers around to pat him on the back.” — Billy Martin
The former manager of the New York Yankees had some advice for people who are part of a team: Be sure to compliment your fellow team members when they do something right. If you’re a leader of a team, it’s important that you cultivate a culture of praise within your organization.
16. “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” — Reid Hoffman
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman knows a thing or two about success. He’s here to tell you that he didn’t create LinkedIn on his own. It’s important that team members realize that the achievement of organizational goals is almost impossible without solid teamwork.
17. “If we were all determined to play the first violin, we should never have an ensemble. Therefore, respect every musician in his proper place.” — Robert Schumann
This quotation from German composer Robert Schumann is great to use when you need to make everybody on the team feel valuable. Sure, some team members will have responsibilities that seem more important than others. That might create a level of resentment or bitterness among other team members. However, it’s important to emphasize that everybody on the team plays a part and in that respect nobody is more important than anybody else.
Teamwork is essential to success. If you want to create a team environment in which everybody understands the “Together Each Achieves More” concept, be sure to offer the right type of inspiration. To that end, share a few powerful quotations every now and then.