London: 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 daily.

An earful of barb every day makes you work harder and smarter than if your office was a more caring environment. The inherent humour 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.