Through the progression of my professional carrier I have learned a lot about interpersonal interactions. The most significant being, how to incentivize people. Giving people a reason to excel is fundamental to enabling your employees to achieve their best. A person with no reason to exceed their current situation will not. More importantly, they will seek that fulfilment elsewhere which can take away from the tasks you wish them to perform.
However, and this is the most important thing to remember, everyone is a special butterfly. An important aspect of any successful manager is to recognize this and adapt to each and every employee. This can be extremely difficult for managers with large teams or many remote workers. At the end of the day, the manager's primary function is to ensure the company is getting the most out of its employees.
I can't speak for most people but I'd like to share some of my experience dealing with management. Personally, I do not like verbal praise. I have always felt it hollow and basically just a tool they are using to make me work harder then I am paid for. I always do the best I can at my job regardless of my position. Please, I don't need someone telling me that. I also understand that if I want a raise I need to work at the next pay level but this must be a temporary situation. If you truly believe I am excelling at my job, PAY ME MORE.
Unfortunately, paying people seems to be the bane of management. My ideal position would be where when the manager compares my work to my pay they should think, "yep he is doing exactly what we pay him for" and never "WOW your doing such amazing work for the penance we grudgingly give you". Because if that is the thought you are having, I not being properly incentivized. Remember I will seek my fulfilment elsewhere.