A question employees love to hear: How can I help you do your job better?
That is one of the most potent questions in management for a senior executive to put to an employee. Offering such assistance is recognition by the executive that his job is to help others do their jobs better.
When you hire people who are motivated to stretch themselves to reach goals for themselves and their teams, providing support for them stokes the fire of their engines.
Failure to acknowledge them, or worse, failure to support them with resources, is what is demotivating. Not words of praise.
A leader who believes his or her job is to help others is a leader who knows what it takes to inspire others to do their best work.