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Quick Tips

Reward and Recognition Notes and Quotes

Discretionary effort is like loose change in a person's pocket. It is management's job to get them to want to spend it all every day. Discretionary effort is defined as that level of effort people could give if they wanted to, but which is beyond what is required.

"Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Apply the Astonishing Power
of Positive Reinforcement"
....Aubrey C. Daniels


Positive Coaching Notes for Managers

  • Balance criticism with praise. When telling an employee about a mistake, also tell them about something that was done correctly.
  • Sincerely give positive recognition. Catch someone doing something right and tell them about it then and there. If the employee thinks you are insincere, it's worse than saying nothing at all.
  • Something doesn't have to be perfect for you to give praise. If you have seen an improvement since the last attempt at this task or objective, say so.
  • Whether your message is corrective or reinforcing, make it simple, make it clear and make it fair.

Providing Recognition to Employees

  • Customize the recognition you provide. Ask each member of your team how you can best demonstrate your appreciation for them. Then provide "different strokes for different folks."
  • Pay attention to "middle stars." Avoid the trap of focusing only on the "super stars" (those with exceptional performance) and the "fallen stars" (those with significant performance problems). Most people shine somewhere in the middle.

Excerpted from "144 Ways to Walk the Talk" by Eric Harvey and Alexander Lucia.

"Feedback is the breakfast of champions"
Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
The One Minute Manager

How to Praise An Employee

Be sure you set an example for your managers, supervisors and employees in both giving and receiving praise. Follow the guidelines issued by Toyota, as quoted below:


  • Accept praise and let it energize you.

  • Simply say: "Thank you."

  • Express appreciation at being recognized.

  • Give credit to others who have made contributions.

  • Dismiss recognition - saying, "Oh, it was nothing."

  • Disclaim responsibility for your contribution - "Everyone else did the work."

  • Make a joke about the praise - "Yeah, quite a change for me, huh?"

  • Send the wrong message - "I don't care what you think."

        Source: "Tips to Team Members," Pocket Minders, Toyota Motors, Georgetown, KY plant.

Sample "Great Job" Note

Way to Go!_________(Employee Name)______________.

You did a great job on the _________________________

 by __________________________________________


 I want you to know that I appreciate your efforts.


Chief Poobah

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If you have any questions about these tips, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Gravett by phone at 513-753-8870 or e-mail at lsg@justthebasics.com