“Teamwork” ended up taking second place in a list of the most hated office jargon. Perhaps that’s because managers and consultants have blemished the word (“teamwork makes the dream work, folks”).
But while the word might have been hijacked, its definition and strength still stand.
“Teamwork: the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient.”
We’ve collated 53 quotes for your next presentation, team meeting, or even one on one. They are a testament to the importance and strength of teamwork throughout time.
Here’s a handy table of contents:
Inspirational teamwork quotes
Turn to these quotes when you need examples of the greatness and greats that can emerge from teamwork.
- “Individuals shape into a team when they learn first about one another as human beings and then grow from that understanding into a sense of who they can become together. In the start-up, plan activities that allow team members to relate to one another on a human level wherein they discover each other’s skills, talents, and anything else they bring that will help achieve the goals of the work ahead. This sets the stage for self-organization and cross-functional behavior.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
- “If you have never led or worked as part of high performing teams, you have missed one of the best experiences of your professional career.” – Fred Wilson, Agile and software consultant (source)
- “There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.” – attributed to Idowu Koyenikan, author
- “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” – attributed to Mia Hamm, soccer player
- “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot: together we can do great things.”– Often attributed to Mother Teresa
- “To build a strong team, you must see someone else’s strength as a complement to your weakness and not a threat to your position or authority.” – Christine Caine, religious author and activist
- “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – attributed to Michael Jordan, former basketball player
- “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. (source)
- “It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Source unknown; often misattributed to Charles Darwin
Motivational teamwork quotes
Feeling down and dreary? Get energized with these motivational sayings about teamwork.
- “Overcoming barriers to performance is how groups become teams.” – John Katzenbach in The Wisdom of Teams
- “Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers.” – attributed to Pat Riley, former basketball coach
- “What you’re building never matters as much as who you’re building it with.” – Tony Fadell in Build
- “Tough times don’t last. Tough teams do.” – Various sources (variation on the quote “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do,” by Robert Schuller)
- “There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.” – attributed to George Shinn, sports executive
- “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – attributed to Henry Ford
- “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, cofounder LinkedIn (source)
- “Be fast, be first, but never be alone. Nothing can replace the value of teamwork.” – Farshad Asl in The No Excuses Mindset
- “Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results.” – attributed to Ifeanyi Onuoha, author
Practical teamwork quotes
Here are six practical quotes about teamwork that contain insights you can immediately try and test with your team.
- “You can take a team of absolute all-stars in terms of their native abilities, but if they are not working together, they are much less effective than a team where there is less native ability but a higher degree of teamwork and cohesion.” – Stewart Butterfield, CEO and cofounder Slack (source)
- “Not finance, not a strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and rare.” – attributed to Patrick Lencioni, author
- “Strong and cohesive teams thrive when leaders highlight how much they all have in common, not how much he or she stands above from the crowd.” – attributed to Moira Alexander, author
- “A group becomes teammates when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of the others.” – attributed to Norman Shidle, author
- I have been amazed to see what happens when teams are only ‘sort of clear’ about what they are trying to achieve rather than ‘really clear.'” – Greg McKeown in Essentialism
- “When a team is in conflict and is not making progress, try declaring one minute’s silence. This is a very challenging and powerful technique. The reflection that the individuals engage in during this minute is undistracted and seems to bring them face-to-face with their integrity. At the end of the silence, someone will usually take the risk and say what needs to be said, thus unblocking the team.” – Myles Downey in Effective Modern Coaching
Positive teamwork quotes
Tap into a source of instant positivity by reading and absorbing these teamwork quotes.
- “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller (source)
- “I’ve never scored a goal in my life without getting a pass from someone else.” – Abby Wambach in Wolfpack
- “If you can laugh together, you can work together.” – attributed to Robert Orben, author
- “We multiplies the power of I.” – attributed to Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel, author
Funny teamwork quotes
The quotes below will teach you something about teamwork – with a chuckle along the way.
- “A good team needs three things: the right people, the right spirit, and a couple inside jokes.” – source unknown
- “In teamwork, silence isn’t golden. It’s deadly.” – attributed to Mark Sanborn, author and entrepreneur
- “The secret is to gang up on the problem, rather than each other.” – attributed to Thomas Stallkamp, author and consultant
- “If you take out the team in teamwork, it’s just work. Now who wants that?” – attributed to Matthew Woodring Stover, novelist
- “To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, ‘Your end of the boat is sinking.'” – Hugh Downs in My America
Short teamwork quotes
If you want a high return on wisdom per word, look no further than these seven short teamwork quotes.
- “It’s better to have a great team than a team of greats.” – Simon Sinek, author (source)
- “It’s not the quality of the man, it’s the quality of the team.” – attributed to Garth Stein, author
- “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – likely an African proverb
- “Politeness is the poison of collaboration.” – Edwin Land in The Innovation Manager’s Desk
- “No individual can win a game by himself.” – attributed to Pelé, former soccer player and former Brazilian Minister of Sports
- “None of us is as smart as all of us.” – quoted by Ken Blanchard in his book Lead Like Jesus
- “A team has to demand greatness from itself.” – Jeff Sutherland, cocreator of Scrum (source)
Surprising teamwork quotes
Here are a few quotes about teamwork that make their point in a surprising but powerful way; don’t hesitate to read them twice or even thrice.
- “A single leaf working alone provides no shade.” – attributed to Chuck Page, politician
- “It takes both sides to build a bridge.” – attributed to Fredrik Nael, author
- “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.” – attributed to John Wooden, basketball coach
Teamwork quotes for employees
We’ve curated these five teamwork quotes for anyone working in larger organizations.
- “Teams are successful when they are focused, have a short cycle time, and are supported by the executives.” – attributed to Tom J. Bouchard, psychologist
- “You are either supporting the vision or supporting division.” – attributed to Saji Ijiyemi, leadership coach and author
- “Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.” – source unknown
- “The magic of teams is a double-edged sword once organizations get big: some of the same traits that make an adaptable team great can make it incompatible with the structure it serves.” – Stanley McChrystal in Team of Teams
- “For a team to experience more of its potential, the interference must be reduced. Interference in a team might include the following: Lack of trust in other team members; Fear of ridicule; Fear of being dominated; Pursuit of personal agendas; Need to lead; Lack of clarity about the task or the goals; Pursuit of incongruent goals; Hidden agendas; Not understanding (or distrusting) each other’s intentions; No agreed process for working together; An absence of agreed ground rules; Rivalries; No listening; No meaningful collective work; Beliefs and positions (‘this is how things are or should be’).” – Myles Downey in Effective Modern Coaching
Agile teamwork quotes
Turn to these quotes when you need inspiration, motivation, or wisdom about agile teamwork.
- “‘Take it to the team.’ Take any perceived problem to the team. They know what’s really happening and what to do about it. Everyone can rely on the cadence agile gives them to consider such problems. It’s called the retrospective.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
- “Agile leaders lead teams, non-agile ones manage tasks.” – Jim Highsmith in Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products
- “A ScrumMaster who takes teams beyond getting agile practices up and running into their deliberate and joyful pursuit of high performance is an agile coach.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
- “A project manager and an agile coach are not even as much alike as a house cat and a jaguar. They are simply not in the same family. A project manager plans and controls, supervising throughout. A coach guides. A project manager’s success equals the success of the project. An agile coach’s success equals the team’s continual improvement and their pursuit of high performance. The two are focused on completely different things and thus act completely differently.” – Lyssa Adkins in Coaching Agile Teams
- “Scrum embraces uncertainty and creativity. It places a structure around the learning process, enabling teams to assess both what they’ve created and, just as important, how they created it. The Scrum framework harnesses how teams actually work and gives them the tools to self-organize and rapidly improve both speed and quality of work.” – Jeff Sutherland in Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
💡 Want more agile quotes? Check out 120+ Great Agile Quotes to Inspire Your Team.
Great work starts with teamwork
Whether you’re leading a team or are part of one, we hope these quotes inspire and motivate you to unlock the unparalleled power of teamwork.Looking for more ideas and inspiration to build great teams? Why not try running a retrospective or lessons learned meeting with your team to look back on how your work is going and find process improvements.
In Parabol, there are over 40 different retrospective activities teams can run together for free! Refine your values together, inspect your work, and bond better as a team.
For more teamwork inspiration, check out these articles and meeting templates
Teamwork-focused meetings available in Parabol: