11 Phrases That Will Motivate Your Team to Succeed

Patrick Antinozzi

team motivation phrases

What does it mean to lead?

Manager, boss, supervisor, CEO... whatever your title is, you need to know your team and what motivates them to work at their best.

While each team is different and made up of a group of unique individuals, there are many specific phrases you can use that have been proven to motivate.

Most of these are well-known, but severely underused.

Have you used any of these lately?

11 phrases that will motivate your team to succeed

"I don't know."

Yep, that's right. You don't know everything. And you don't need to pretend like you do either. Admitting you're not sure what the answer is will encourage your team to develop good problem-solving skills.

team motivation phrases

"What did you learn?"

The crucial part about making mistakes is determining what you learned from them. Have your team share at least one lesson they learned each time they screw up.

"What would you like to learn?"

If your team isn't growing, neither is your business. Don't segregate your team based simply on the skills they currently possess. Offer your team opportunities to refine their skills and, most importantly, learn new ones. They will feel like they are personally invested in the business.


"What do you need?"

You want your team to have all of the necessary tools for success. This simple question will alleviate the concerns of even the shyest team member. You're not here to boss them around, you're looking to help them excel in every way possible.

"You can do better."

This doesn't have to be as harsh as it sounds, but it's important. We never know what we're capable of until we're forced out of our comfort zone. As a team leader, your job is to push your team to produce their finest work. By using this phrase, you're telling your team their work isn't good enough, but also conveying that you are confident they can do better.

team motivation phrases

"Great job."

That said, give credit where credit is due. Having your hard work acknowledged and rewarded is a great feeling. One we could all use a little more of.

"I was thinking about what you said..."

It's a small phrase that means so much. To know your superior actually takes into consideration the feedback you provide is very encouraging.

"No. (and here's why)"

As a manager, you're going to be saying no a lot. (and you should be) But if you want your "no's" to have a more meaningful impact on your team, tell them why you're saying no. It creates an opportunity to teach, tells them where their priorities should be, and prevents discouragement. This is especially important if your team consists of mainly millennials.

"Let me show you."

You've heard the term "lead by example" endlessly, and for good reason. You want to be a leader, not a "boss". Teach, don't preach.

team motivation phrases

"I did the same thing."

When you make a mistake that seriously affects the people around you, it's a terrible feeling.  When your boss comes to you and tells you how he once made that same mistake, the relief you feel is indescribable. No one wants to feel alone. Share your past mistakes with your team.

"I'm sorry."

You're going to screw up, like any other human being. Owning up to your mistakes and apologizing for them will earn the respect of your team and show them that it's OK to mistakes. It's part of the learning process. If you're not making mistakes, you're not trying hard enough.

The little things go a long way

Using these small phrases regularly takes very little effort, but makes a hugely positive impact.

Remember, your team is made up of imperfect humans, just like you. While some may see that as a disadvantage, and try to remove the human equation from the retail experience, we think human connection is a crucial part of great retail.

If you're not already using these phrases, try incorporating them into your team communication and see the difference it makes.

You'll be rewarded with a happy, hard-working, and highly motivated team, and your business will thrive.

About the Author

Patrick Antinozzi

Patrick is our Content Specialist / Brand Ambassador / Internet Geek. He's got his finger on the pulse of business and retail trends, and loves writing in various corners of the internet. When he's not doing that, you'll find him traveling the world, playing hockey, or ranting about the Montreal Canadiens.

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