20 teamwork quotes to motivate your team without being cheesy

Do you know what feeds teamwork? Camaraderie. Knowing that yes, sometimes things will go wrong, tasks will be difficult, and clients will ask for bizarre things, but at the end of the day: you’re all in it together. Camaraderie lifts the spirit, creates stronger team bonds, and motivates everyone to get through the tougher times.

Do you know what kills teamwork? Pretending everything’s fine when actually, you feel an impending sense of doom and disaster. This dissonance between how you feel and what everyone else is projecting will make you miserable (and everyone else on the team too).

Acknowledging when things are bad not only helps share the burden of a less-than-ideal situation. It allows you to raise — and therefore address — real issues that may have otherwise been swept under the rug. So if you’re going to try to motivate your team with a teamwork quote: choose wisely.

What to look for in teamwork quotes

Any competent manager understands the importance of managing expectations: it lays the groundwork for accepting a variety of outcomes. Which makes it easier to manage emotions and disappointments along the way. So why do so many teamwork quotes patronize teams by telling them that everything’s amazing while promising an unattainable vision of perfection?

Teamwork is not like this. No matter how positive your affirmations, personalities clash, people make mistakes, and coffee runs out. And you know what? That’s okay. Working with other people is challenging, but a good dose of camaraderie with each misfortune will go a long way.

So without further ado, here are 20 non-patronizing, genuinely helpful teamwork quotes that celebrate hard work, overcoming obstacles, and working together.

Teamwork quotes that aren’t cheesy

  1. “If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.” – Beyoncé
  2. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
  3. “Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” – Patrick Lencioni
  4. “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford
  5. “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” ― Abraham Lincoln
  6. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
  7. “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein
  8. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
  9. “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington
  10. “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.” ― Chinese proverb
  11. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’” – Mary Anne Radmacher
  12. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ― Martin Luther King
  13. “When you judge another, you do not define them; you define yourself.” ― Wayne Dyer
  14. “The real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in the job.” ― Zig Ziglar
  15. “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends.” ― JK Rowling
  16. “A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” ― Rosalynn Carter
  17. “It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed” – Charles Darwin
  18. “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
  19. “There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.” – George Shinn
  20. “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life forever.”― Amy Poehler

Final thoughts

Being realistic about teamwork means addressing issues, sharing the burden, being emotionally supportive and learning to communicate with different personalities within your team.

Remember: good teams acknowledge when things aren’t going well – and help each other through it.