Michele Weldon

Yes, it takes a village and it also takes a team. What does it take to make the most of every member of your team?

“Teams cannot be inspired if they don’t know what they’re working toward and don’t have explicit goals. Those goals should be challenging (modest ones don’t motivate) but not so difficult that the team becomes dispirited. They also must be consequential," writes Martine Haas, associate professor of management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Mark Mortensen, associate professor and the chair of the Organizational Behaviour Area at INSEAD, in Harvard Business Review.

Managing team dynamics as a leader or collaborating as a team member can be tricky. Here are some of the best quotes about team work from a variety of thought leaders, entrepreneurs and business leaders. These inspirational quotes on teamwork will get you team building in no time.

  1. “Together everything appears manageable. That’s the definition of ‘TEAM,’” says Gloria Feldt, president and co-founder of Take The Lead. “Team work doesn’t erase the individual, but leverages each person’s unique capabilities to accomplish more together than one can do alone, sparks more innovations than any individual can produce, and creates more forward movement for change than any individual can do alone.”
  2. “New leaders often think that they have to be the loudest and most dominant voice. But you can learn so much more by listening to your team,” says  Mary Beech, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Kate Spade and Co. in Motto.
  3. "We're communal creatures. We can't operate alone. Ask for support from others. It's a gift to the person you ask," says author and activist Gloria Steinem.
  4.  “My ambition is to have an employee population profile that reflects the consumer population. It makes for better insight and strategy to deliver campaigns. It begins with believing that diversity on a team makes a good team,” says Pam Hamlin, CEO of Arnold Worldwide, a global creative and advertising agency.
  5. “The old style of networking involved a lot of ‘selling’ your skills and showcasing your knowledge. To truly build connections that work, resist that urge. Instead, when you’re talking to someone new, ask her about herself and really listen to her answers. It’s bad form to wait for your opportunity to talk without actually taking the time to listen,” says Dr. Nancy D. O’Reilly, founder, Women Connect4Good Foundation, author and member of the board of directors of Take the Lead.  
  6. “Hiring the right team is critical. I know now to spend more time talking about their motivation and how passionate they are. We move fast and make changes constantly, so they have to comfortable in sharing tasks. You have to make sure someone is joining the team for the right reason,” says Catherine Tan, founder of Notey.
  7. “Business is about belonging. And you will do a better job of creating that sense of belonging with your customers when your team reflects your customer base. But it will be important for you to be intentional about building a team who will enable you to authentically connect with your audience in a meaningful way,” writes Sonia Thompson, marketing strategist, consultant, and author in Inc.
  8. “We have a policy when people (on a team) need to work from home, to be flexible. We assume they will get their work done,” says Carolyn Morgan, president of Precision Effect, a healthcare brand agency.
  9. “We need to realize that diversity is not a problem or hindrance that needs to be dealt with, but the source of enormous richness that brings compelling benefits and eventually higher profits. Yes, inclusion of all genders is about basic human rights and providing equal opportunities to everyone. And it’s also about harvesting the fruits that come with it,” says Regina Huber, CEO of Transform Your Performance, Take The Lead Leadership Ambassador and author.
  10. “Our teams typically consist of people from several generations and they just learn from each other, rather than trying to impose one style over another. Technology helps, of course. And yet what we think matters most is that they all unite and align with the mission and the vision of our organization. It's very rewarding!” says Magdalena MookICF (International Coach Federation) in Forbes.
  11. “If I pick my team from everybody and you pick your team from middle-aged white men, I guarantee I’ll pick a better team,” says James Dimon, chief executive of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
  12. “One thing that is constant across all generations is that people enjoy having fun. To optimize your organization's teamwork you should be sensitive to generational differences, but focus on having a fun, inviting work environment that allows people to express themselves. When this is achieved, the diverse, multi-generational knowledge within your staff will be make your team more productive,” writes Bruce Maj PelzMaji Safi Group 
  13.  “One of the most essential characteristics for a high-functioning team — perhaps the single most important characteristic — is trust. Anyone who has worked on a team knows that team members must be able to trust each other to get the job done, and be committed and dedicated to the overall welfare of the group. In any group of individuals, trust is challenging to create and sustain, but in the case of a multicultural team it can be especially difficult for a variety of different reasons,” write Andy Molinsky, author and Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Brandeis International Business School, along with Ernest Gundling, author and Managing Partner at Aperian Global, in Harvard Business Review.
  14. "Teams can have strikingly different social behaviors and still produce exceptional work. I’ve seen teams with an informal brainstorming process–they always went off track during team meetings–be just as successful as extremely formal teams that were totally goal-focused. What matters isn’t the style of behavior, but that all team members feel good about that style,” writes Ted Leonhardt, former global creative director of FITCH Worldwide, in Fast Company.

Lest we forget, the USA Hockey Women’s Team in 2017 demonstrated the power of team work and resistance as a team working for a singular goal.

Noting the threat to boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation world championship in Michigan was real and imminent, the women’s team insisted in their less-than-playful negotiations that being paid a total of $6,000 for six months out of the four-year training period leading up the Olympic Games is neither acceptable nor fair. And because they each individually persisted in a group effort toward their common goal, they won because they demonstrated their power to ask, the ability to work together and teamwork and collaboration.

Teamwork makes the dream work, right? Hopefully these teamwork quotes will help you and your great team reach success. Of course, team building is a joint effort, but effective teamwork means that everyone needs to put in their own work, individually. They each need to have the ability to work together and they each need to show an individual commitment to the organizational objectives. When that happens, common people with a common vision can come together to make something great happen.

What are your favorite quotes about team work or other team-building quotes about work success surrounding a common goal? Share your inspirational teamwork quotes with us!


Michele Weldon is a journallist, author, editorial director of Take The Lead and senior leader with The OpEd Project. Her most recent book is Escape Points: A Memoir.