Top performers don’t work for money alone. They’re also motivated by an internal desire to achieve. Workers who are concerned with excellence have an inner source of inspiration. Good leaders recognize these excellence seekers and tap their hidden resources by praising their achievements.

Good leaders always know which team members are the standouts. Peak performers are usually the first in line and the last to leave. They are most often the last to complain and the first to cooperate. They are not inconvenienced by an assignment because they have already sacrificed convenience for the greater good. These achievers work mostly for the pride of knowing that they have done the job well. Learn to praise them, and you will tap a reservoir of great strength.

Praise Often. Find ways to acknowledge those who go the extra mile for your organization. Often, budget constraints prevent a leader from using money as a motivator. But there are other ways to recognize high achievers. Acknowledge their contribution at team meetings. Send an e-mail that says, “Thanks. You helped the team today.” Look for ways to say thanks for a job well done.

Increase Responsibility. When team members prove that they are up to a challenge, give them one. Give an important assignment to your standout players, and they will rise to the occasion. High achievers look for ways to increase their contribution. One way of saying thanks for what they have already done is to place even greater trust in them in the future.

Write It Up. If you have a formal evaluation process, use it to reward those who do well. Let their annual evaluations reveal the impact of their contribution on the organization. Give them an A for effort, and others will see their worth. If you benefit from the contribution of someone who is not on your team, send a positive note to his or her boss. Let that leader know that this team player is worth keeping.

Cut the Check. If you can use monetary rewards, do so to encourage your best performers. Even small bonuses or perks are meaningful. They say, “I value you!” loud and clear. Just be sure that the reward system is fair and consistently used.

“Thank you.” They are simple words, and easy to say. Use them often, and you will keep your best performers working at high efficiency.