panem et circenses
—Juvenal, Satire 10.77–81
You can buy a lot of loyalty and hard work by NOT buying. Save your money for that Panamera. I hear it’s a pretty sweet ride.
People are needy and look up those in power, however much they may revile them. Reward your staff or people around you (like family and friends) not with money or material goods, but by something more elusive:
RANDOM ACTS OF PRAISE
Never underestimate the power of a pat on the head. It works for dogs and look how loyal they are.
Appearing to give of yourself is the best reward.
Let's be honest (if we must): people around you are either needy, or self-serving. If the former, a pat on the head is fine. If the latter, they are likely note-taking sycophants who will admire your nerve as you reward their excellence with a few good words (but not too many) and a nod. These fart catchers will fawn and drool over any attention you send their way, and for bonus points, they'll let everyone else know how blessed and grateful they are to have caught your eye.
Don’t worry about watching your back from these flatterers because one of your needy ones will take it in the ribs for you (and clean up the mess after).
Keep those hero biscuits handy.
There's a good dog.
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