When I was a kid, I had a rabbit named Fluffernutter (peanut butter colored top, white bottom — like the sandwich with marshmallow fluff).

I thought of Fluffernutter last night when I came upon an empty lot full of purple clover.  That rabbit L-O-V-E-D purple clover.  Even though it has been a couple of decades since I fed it to him, I still can’t walk past it without thinking of the pure joy that it brought.  For whatever reason, purple clover was the favorite, much more than white clover or treats or grass.

Your challenge as a supervisor is to learn the equivalent of purple clover for your staff.  In my world, I can best thank/praise someone with a new pen; for another it is with a Pez dispenser; yet someone else will feel most loved with a certain kind of candy or even cereal.  The small tokens of appreciation go further than the infrequent monetary raises because in addition to saying “thank you”, they also communicate “I know you.”  There is no better way to inspire.

— beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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