Cash or Credit?

Given the economic realities of this year, many firms have found themselves unable to offer their employees material increases with respect to either salary or benefits. So how do you let colleagues know they are valued when you don’t have cash?  It’s simple — use Credit.

When I say “use credit,” I don’t mean to suggest that you give your colleagues IOUs.  Rather, you should find many and varied means of letting them (and others) know how much you value them.  In fact, studies have shown that cash is sometimes the least effective way of motivating others to perform.  So look at this year as a wonderful opportunity to learn more effective methods to manage your team.  Here are some tips:

  • Be unstinting in your praise for work well done by members of your team.  I know they are getting a paycheck to do a good job, but that paycheck provides few of the psychic rewards most people crave.
  • When you are commended for work done by your team, be sure to let your superiors know who on your team shouldered the laboring oar.  (If you are the insecure type who hogs the credit in an effort to shore up your personal position within the organization, let me tell you a secret about this.  When you highlight the excellence of individuals on your team you actually remind others of your good judgment in hiring and managing great people.  The fact that you look generous as well doesn’t hurt one bit either.)
  • When anyone outside your team does a terrific job, thank them.  Better still send a note to their supervisors letting them know (and copy the employee so they know as well).
  • Be straightforward and sincere.  Most of us sense a con when we hear it.  Credit works in lieu of cash only when the emotion and intent behind the praise is genuine.
  • Saying “thx” rarely is sufficient.  If the work done is deserving of praise, then surely it merits more effort from you than is required to write “thx” in an offhand, reflexive manner.  (The only possible exception to this is when you are facing the 140 character limit in Twitter!)

Above all, I’d recommend that you read Charles Green’s fantastic post, Pin the Credit on Someone Else, and adopt that as your modus operandi going forward.  This will be a challenge for the insecure manager, but it will make a world of difference in the way members of the team view their work and their manager.

In this season of gratitude and generosity, try being grateful and generous at work.  It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

[Photo Credit:  chrisjohnbeckett]


The editors of the ABA Journal have recognized Above and Beyond KM as one of the top 100 law blogs of 2009.  They are requesting your votes to help them determine which of these blogs are the most popular.  To vote for this blog and your other favorites, please click on the picture below.  Thanks a million!

Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑