Have a sarcastic colleague at your workplace? Take heart, as he/she may be helping (though unknowingly) to bring the best out in you.
A new study has found that employees who have to put up with a sarcastic colleague or boss are more creative than those who don’t, reports the Daily Mail.
An earful of barb every day makes you work harder and smarter than if your office was a more caring environment. The inherent humor in the comments also defused the tension that comes with anger.
The study by researchers from the Bar-Ilan University in Israel asked 375 engineering students to imagine they were a customer service representative dealing with phone calls.
They were played three conversations between another customer service agent and a caller in which he was angry, normal or sarcastic.
Those who had heard the angry conversation performed better than the neutral one when asked to perform a simple creative task.
But even more surprising was that after hearing the sarcastic caller – who used phrases like ‘your service is as fast as a turtle’ – they did even better still.
The researchers speculated that anger causes people to adopt a narrow focus on one’s immediate concerns to avoid further suffering.
The sarcasm had a better effect because it involved higher-level thinking and the ability to process two realities at once.
“Observing anger communicated through sarcasm enhances complex thinking and solving of creative problems,” lead author Ella Miron-Spektor wrote in the study.
The study has been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.