By Sarah Begley
August 27, 2015

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.

–SARAH BEGLEY

Contact us at editors@time.com.

This appears in the September 07, 2015 issue of TIME.

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