A few years ago if you'd have heard the word recommendation you'd have assumed that the person is looking to pursue higher education and applying to universities. So much has changed since then. We've travelled from friendly testimonials to recos, initially because of social networking sites and now professional networking sites. Now asking for reco is not restricted to seeking admission in a university or job. We are beyond this. If you are asking for reco on LinkedIn does not imply that you are looking for job change. May be you want to make your resume look good or get words of appreciation before a person forgets you ;) Reasons might be whatever but experiences must be similar and plenty!
How often have you got a recommendation within a few days after you request for it and that too without any re-re-reminders? Very rarely this is the case! People can read, chat, spend time on networking sites. But when it comes to writing a reco...the most difficult part. Or is it that writing good about someone is a difficult part ;) May be yes. Case is similar to writing comments on a blog; if folks have to say it is yuck then plenty of comments...to say wow- hardly any! You may even receive response- 'first you give me reco then I'll give you'! Got any reco without you requesting for it? If you are on a high power(management ;) ) position then this must be usual(subordinates keep giving without asking)....if no then situation becomes interesting. Firstly you are glad to receive and accept it. After some time thought starts to crawl- does the person expect the same favor in return? You are clueless and don't know whether you should have accepted it or not :D
Ask for recommendation from a person who has feeling of self-importance(unwarranted!). He can simply opt to not reply or divert the topic if he doesn't want to give reco. But no, despite that he'll call you and something to this effect- 'My reco carries a lot of weightage, so I don't go on distributing it. I give it to the really best ones'. Ha ha, he got one more chance to beat his trumpets and fill more void to his self-importance feeling!!
If a person needs your recommendation and you had not found him as a bright person or may be he was forced to resign then what? You can keep the recommendation concise, mentioning only the good points you'd noticed about him (I'm sure every normal person will have something good!). That will retain credibility of your words and will also maintain relations healthy. Sounds fair?