Sometimes it’s not what you say that matters. It’s how you say it. When you are feeling the need for a little pep talk to inspire your corporate team, having a handy treasure trove of team building quotes by proven motivators can mean the difference between your words being heard as, “blah, blah, blah,” or landing like little golden nuggets of wisdom in the appreciative ears of your listeners.
Quote Dead People, Poets, Politicians and Players
You are not a poet—you manage a business. You’re great at fixing problems and telling folks what to do. But if you want to inspire them, your best bet is to use someone else’s words—someone touched by the heavens, linguistically speaking.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a pocketful of time-tested quotes that are guaranteed to inspire even your most narcissistic worker to become a team player. With just a few of these well-placed (albeit borrowed) phrases, you can help your management team achieve a consciousness of collaboration and success—without a trip to the library.
Inspirational Team-building quotes: The Power of “We”
Andrew Carnegie, the great American philanthropist who built U.S. Steel, knew more than a little bit about the importance of teamwork. He merged the giant Carnegie Steel Company with several smaller companies to create the first mega-corporation and eventually became the second richest man in the world. Before he died, he gave most of his fortune away to create libraries, schools, foundations and other good works. Here is what he had to say on the subject of teamwork:
“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.”
Beloved author and political activist Helen Keller, who was also the world’s first deaf-blind lecturer—a feat which could never have been facilitated without the lifetime partnership and teamwork of her companion and teacher, Annie Sullivan— delivered a similar message during one of her most-quoted public lectures, saying, “Alone, we can do so little. Together, we can do so much.”
Author Ryunosuke Satoro poetically championed the same power of collaboration, writing, “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
Team –building Philosophies: You’re never alone
If you have a manager on your team who fancies himself more of a “lone wolf” than a team player, promote the advantages of collaboration by quoting author Margaret Carty, who stated, quite encouragingly, “The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side,”— a pronouncement that sounds a lot like a Stephen Sondheim lyric from “The Jets Song” in the Broadway musical West Side Story.
The street gang member sings, “You’re never alone. You’re never disconnected. You’re home with your own. When company’s expected, you’re well-protected… when you’re a Jet, you stay a Jet.”
Use the Force
“Synergy is the highest activity of life; it creates new untapped alternatives; it values and exploits the mental, emotional, and psychological differences between people.”- Stephen Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
This is a great one to use on those members of your management team who already subscribe to the group mentality but are having “issues” with a fellow teammate. Use the quote to remind them that every opinion has value, every effort moves the team forward, and even those who may feel, think or act differently than the rest of the group are part of the unified team force.
Last, but certainly not least in terms of its ability to motivate and inspire, is a quote that leapt from the lexicon of popular culture into the language of visionaries, young and old. Reminding him that no one in the Universe can exist without a universal power, Obi Wan Kenobi delivers his own motivational speech to a self-doubting Luke Skywalker:
“The Force is what gives a Jedi his power,” he says. “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together…May the Force be with you.”
Lyndsay Swinton is owner of Management for the rest of us where she writes articles and a newsletter on management skills. She has worked for Diageo, The Body Shop and American Express and now looks after a dynamic little team in a small company, as well as her own dynamic little team at home.