These Motivational Messages Will Make Your Day

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At work, affirmations that you're doing a good job tend to come around the holidays, after a project is completed, and during performance reviews. But often it's the periods in between that feel like the biggest struggle.

Staying geared up for repeated late nights at the office requires a level of endurance that you just can't learn growing up. The times when you're on your phone with your boss more than your family and friends and checking email like your life depends on it are when you could use a message of support.

How do the pros keep their teams motivated? We asked 15 top businesswomen for the words they send for a boost via text, Slack, or email. Some avoid emoji while others embrace a good thumbs up. Some opt for simple thank-yous or quotes from inspiring individuals. Some send their notes spur of the moment, and some plan them out ahead of time. But all have one purpose: To remind everyone that their work matters. Click through to see what these female leaders say to their staff when a little positive reinforcement is in order — and pass it on.
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"I like to use hashtags such as #PowerUp, #BuckleUp, or #BeTheChange in my communications to the team.

"#PowerUp is like the battery icon on a phone. I encourage my team to want to power up, learn more, do more, and be encouraged. It’s all about powering up your skills and taking your own development seriously. It’s about approaching things with curiosity."

— Marcy Klevorn, Group VP, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Ford
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"I love texting because of the speedy nature of it, but I do believe text messages should only be used for quick questions or positive comments. I always think a timely text message as simple as 'great job' after someone does a presentation, or 'Thank YOU' for help from a team member is always appreciated.

"Isn’t everyone more motivated to support or follow someone who really values their contributions, regardless of how small they may be? There's nothing like a fun text to and from co-workers, even if it's just touching base, to make a long work day more manageable!"

— Kathy Winter, VP and GM of Intel Automated Driving Division at Intel
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"I’m a straight shooter — what you see is what you get — and firmly believe in transparency to create a culture of openness and inclusivity.

"I believe it’s very empowering and important to share ‘peer props’ regularly in public settings — team emails, company all-hands, passing in the hallway — giving teams and individuals the timely and personalized recognition they deserve for excellent work and wins of all kinds. My team can attest, I also love a GIF to express my true feelings."

— Melissa Waters, Head of Marketing at Lyft
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"Brand Marketing has more ebbs and flows than most departments. There are incredibly frenetic, stressful times followed by calmer, more relaxed periods. I find that my team performs at their best when they are busiest – the exciting, fast-paced environment and tight timelines prove to be intrinsic motivators. In those moments, I find that I don’t need to say much to keep them motivated.

"However, it’s during the slower periods that I make a point to call out the amazing work they are doing and say thank you. A simple Slack or text that says 'I just want you to know how much I appreciate you' fosters a sense of teamwork and empowerment that carries us through those crazier times."

— Amory Wooden, Director of Brand Marketing at Squarespace
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“While I don't have an exact go-to line or quote, I generally use Slack to message employees to say that they are doing a great job, and note that they handled a certain project or task beautifully (and say why).

"I try to give specific, positive feedback when something goes really well, so that that person feels empowered and motivated by knowing that they are doing well, and that their hard work is seen, recognized, and has an impact! One thing I do for the whole team is send around any good press we've gotten lately, since everyone always loves seeing that. It never gets old and is an awesome way to get the team pumped up!"

— Vicki Fulop, CCO at Brooklinen
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"If I know that someone is actively working on something that they are trying to improve (e.g. speaking up more in a group setting or clearly articulating their point of view in a meeting), I always send them a quick email or Slack whenever I see them do it. Depending on the situation, I might even send them a message during the meeting, just seconds after they've done it. If it catches their eye, then we usually get to exchange a quick nod or smile in the moment."

— Rochelle King, Global VP, Product Design & Insights at Spotify
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"I love circulating customer feedback and stories to give my teams a little extra inspiration during the workday. There's nothing more motivating than hearing that the product launch or marketing initiative you worked on tirelessly for months is appreciated and, in Etsy's case, positively impacting how someone earns a living."

— Linda Findley Kozlowski, COO at Etsy
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"I like to create or adopt a motto that captures the essence of a team strategy or focus area. It's a motivational one-liner I can send, or even better, team members can send to one another. Right now, the motto is, 'let's kick ass and take names.' What I really mean here is, I know you're already doing a fantastic job, but I want you to raise your hand and ask for more."

— Tracy Sun, Co-founder and VP of Merchandising at Poshmark
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"The beauty of a text is its immediacy. A well-timed, thoughtful text offers a quick energy boost and can be an instant mood lifter. I often send encouraging texts before a presentation or speech, for example, 'Deep breath. Exhale. You’ve got this!' Afterward, people really want to know how they did, so a sincere, 'You nailed it. Thank you for showing up so well on behalf of our team!' can help motivate someone to keep up the good work. And, in my humble opinion, emojis don’t count as thoughtful texts.

"I am also a fan of the handwritten thank you note – taking the time to stop, unplug, and write a sincere note goes a long way in today’s digital world. You can never say thank you often enough."

— Emily Garbaccio, Vice President of Communications at Kate Spade & Company
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"Often, an emoji is worth a thousand words, so I'll DM my team one or some combination of the heart emoji, the thumbs up emoji, the heart-eyes emoji, the flexed bicep emoji, the raised hands emoji and the folded hands [hands in prayer] emoji!"

— Leslie Berland, CMO at Twitter
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"To motivate my team, I message: 'As creative engineers, leaders, Pinployees, we have a unique opportunity to build something that can bring people together. There's an open-mindedness about our platform that is really one-of-kind in the tech industry. It's important that we, as experts of change, help one another, take action, and build on.'"​

— Li Fan, Head of Engineering at Pinterest​
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"[I say,] 'There are no heroes.'

"It takes a team of various skills, backgrounds and experiences to accomplish something great — together.

"Personally, 'no heroes' originated nearly a decade ago when I arrived at my dad’s house certain to talk him out of re-enlisting in Iraq, which I saw as a midlife crisis. I accused him of trying to be a 'hero.' I remember his response distinctly: 'Megan it’s not about being a hero. It’s about everybody doing a little bit. You need to understand, I've trained all my life to serve and feel I have something to offer. If I can help in a small way and if everybody helps in a small way that's what makes the world go around.'"

— Megan Saunders, General Manager, 3D for Everyone at Microsoft
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"[I tell my team,]'Do What Makes Your Heart Leap.'

"I lived and worked near La Jolla, CA, for most of my career, not far from the Jonas Salk Institute. I’ve always been inspired by Jonas Salk’s work, and this mantra of his really resonated with me. I’ve carried it throughout my career and am notorious for bringing it to every member of my team — it’s even framed in my office. I think making one’s heart leap means doing work that truly moves you and those around you. I want my team to find a sense of passion and adventure in their work every day here at Microsoft, and to always trust those feelings rather than just following the status quo.”

— Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President, Business Development at Microsoft
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"I like to encourage my team by sending them texts highlighting specific tasks they have done really well. I send out over 200 texts a day to keep connected with my team and family. I send the thumbs up and flexed bicep emojis the most.

"It is important to let my team members know I appreciate them and acknowledge their successes. Sending a text is great, but sometimes I like to do a little more. We have bi-monthly all hands meetings where I highlight engineers that are doing extraordinary things to help innovate Tinder."

— Maria Zhang, VP of Engineering at Tinder
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"I’m grateful for the diverse team that I have at Priceline.com. Everyone is dedicated to the same cause: to offer travelers the best deals in the world.

"When I notice that my team could use an extra morale boost, I remind them that we sell travel, we sell fun! I also tell them that if this task was easy, someone else would’ve figured it out by now and that it’s okay to start small, and break down complex tasks into mini milestones that can be achieved and celebrated. I reinforce that we’re a team so they are not in this alone — we’re all chasing the same goal, so when they are successful, we all are."

— Karen Tepper, VP of Product and Mobile at Priceline.com
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