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How do you prefer to award outstanding performance?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 170,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each Tuesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How do you prefer to award outstanding performance?

  • On-the-spot verbal feedback: 57.5%
  • Hand-written thank-you notes after the fact: 8.66%
  • Spot cash/bonus-incentive programs: 18.55%
  • End-of-year bonuses: 15.3%

Cash isn’t the king. Clearly most of you favor the non-financial awards for outstanding performance. Those thank-you notes and atta boys/girls do indeed go a long way. There are plenty of ways to motivate without using cash. That said, don’t forget your team members have mortgages and rent to pay, too. A well-placed cash award can work wonders, as well. Ensure your awards are balanced and fair and you’ll be fine.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”