Why We Work

1 minute read

If bosses want to motivate workers, conventional wisdom dictates a simple solution: offering a clear path to a raise, promotion or other reward. But psychology professor Barry Schwartz argues that such tactics can actually hurt performance. The most valuable employees, he writes, are those who work because they want to do well, not to check boxes: great teachers don’t just “teach to the test,” great doctors don’t just order profitable procedures. It’s on managers, then, to foster that impulse–keeping job descriptions general, for example, so workers think holistically about their goals. Of course, good work should be rewarded, financially or otherwise. But, Schwartz writes, “there is no substitute for the integrity that inspires people” to go above and beyond on their own.


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