Inspiring employees to better performance is a critical component to effective management. Historically there have been two ways to motivate employees: reward and punishment. Employees that do well receive rewards such as money, awards, recognition, titles and other perks; while employees who do not do what they are supposed to receive warnings, reprimands, demotions and firings. Behavioral science teaches that you will get better performance from positive motivators than negative consequences. It is the old principle of catching more flies with honey than vinegar.
This does not mean that punishment does not have its place. Sometimes you have no choice but to fire someone. However, positive rewards that encourage the behaviors you seek will create a much better environment to work and subsequently a happier more productive workforce. This is the ideal way to inspire your employees to do what you want them to do. You get what you reward.
Managers must realize the power and practicality of praising. Everyone wants to be appreciated and if you praise, recognize and reward your employees you will get the most out those that work for you. Positive reinforcement, rewarding behavior you want repeated, works. This does not just mean bigger pay checks or cash bonuses. Studies indicate that personal recognition can be more motivating than money. Common sense would tell you that the manager who systematically makes an effort to thank employees for doing good work, and implements innovative ways to recognize accomplishments, will be liked, respected and sought after. Unfortunately, common sense is not common practice in many organizations.