Recognizing people for their superior work helps breed excellence. But some "glory hounds" thrive on public praise. They demand a constant infusion of public acclaim--or they will suffocate from lack of's attention.
What's vexing for many managers is the high quality of work that these glory seekers produce. Sure, they are often high maintenance and emotionally fragile. But they also contribute critical skills and technical prowess that are too valuable to take for granted.
For those employees who crave kudos and lapse into lethargy when they are not receiving raves, your challenge is to sprinkle just enough of it to power their productivity without going overboard and faking it. They need to feel that they're earning your praise--or it will lose its meaning.
Separate their routinely fine work from their truly exceptional accomplishments?and make a big deal about those less frequent but more spectacular achievements. Highlight their special triumphs in the company newsletter. Present them with a plaque at a company luncheon. Laud them when the two of you bump into the CEO in the hallway.
Meanwhile, energize these ego-driven strivers on an ongoing basis by asking them to help you spot excellence among other workers. By shifting their focus away from themselves, you expand their perspective and integrate them more fully into the team.