In light of our stalled economy, are you grateful to have a job but tired of doing the work of three people?  So are the employees who report to you.

You may not be able to revive their spirits with a bonus. But there are plenty of inexpensive ways to recognize employees, customized to their personalities.

In my new book, Success Simplified, I explain how to bring out the best in four personality styles, whether you’re leading them, teamed with them, or selling to them.

Today I’ll discuss recognizing two styles, and next month, the other two. (And hey – if you can’t wait until next month, you can always buy the book, right?)

People I call “Team Players” are supportive “people people.”
Send them letters (or at least emails) complimenting them on specific accomplishments, and copy your own boss and/or head of HR. If they’ve put in a lot of overtime, send a gift card to their spouse, along with your thanks for that person’s support and understanding.

Give them gift certificates for the whole family to a theme park or fun restaurant. Or pay for dinner and a movie, sporting event, or concert for a group, so they can treat their friends.  Or give them some time off to relax and enjoy these folks!

Tangible rewards should be a continuing reminder of their contribution to an important project, so consider t-shirts, coffee mugs, and other celebratory items bearing the project’s logo or slogan.

I once led a statewide organization of volunteers who got tremendous support from one paid staff member.  We recognized Norma’s dedication by planting a ginkgo tree in her honor. Because ginkgoes live up to 2500 years, her contribution will be noted by passersby for many generations to come!

People I call “Examiners” are careful, logical people who often prefer working alone.
They like increasing their knowledge and expertise, so support their involvement in a professional association, provide subscriptions to professional magazines and journals, and fund additional schooling if possible. Reward their performance by allowing them to attend classes and seminars during work hours.

Their learning experiences don’t have to be solo journeys; assign them to a cross-functional team with someone whose expertise they admire and from whom they can learn.

Reward them with a new book by an author they respect, and if possible, get it autographed.  Or allow them to choose their next work assignment or work on projects that offer a real challenge to them. If such assignments aren’t appropriate, at least consider rewarding them with more freedom and/or flextime.

3M provides recognizes their Examiners by allowing their technical employees to spend about 15 percent of their time pursuing their own ideas. That’s how the adhesive for “Post-It” Notes was discovered!

Try some of these ideas, and check “Managing Smart” again next month for recognition ideas for Persuaders and Commanders.

If your organization would like a keynote speech or training program on this or other topics, contact Jeanne Baer at  (402) 475-1127 or visit me on the web at or via email at
Copyright 2011 Creative Training Solutions