Sarcastic People are Successful Small Business Owners (Yeah, Right)

It's true. Let your inner snark shine. It'll probably help you grow your business.
Sarcasm definition
Sarcasm can help employees think abstractly as well as promote creativity in the workplace. (Photo: aga7ta/Shutterstock)

Are you a sarcastic person who’s leery of letting out your inner snark? Well, don’t be.

According to Harvard Business School researchers, sarcastic people are not only smarter, but those who delivered and received sarcastic comments were three times more creative than people who speak in a sincere or neutral tone.

Here are other ways sarcastic people succeed at business:

They’re smart

Author Oscar Wilde may have believed sarcasm represented a lower form of wit. But the study’s research found that sarcasm actually catalyzes deeper, more deliberate thought.

In fact, the study says that sarcasm represents the “highest form of intelligence.”

People who use sarcasm tend to read others well since they’re comfortable communicating “between the lines.”

Also, since creativity is linked to sarcasm, it’s not surprising that many snarky people are attracted to business. A sharp wit means a sharp brain, which is an indicator of a successful businessperson.

They challenge employees to think abstractly

The study proposes that “both sarcasm construction and sarcasm interpretation are conducive to abstract thinking, regardless of the content of the communication.” In other words, sarcastic people affect the brains of the people around them in a positive way. The mental energy required to interpret sarcasm sparks the brain for more complex thought.

So when a small business owner dishes out a sarcastic comment to an employee, the employee’s brain must work harder to understand the intended meaning, which, according to the study, promotes abstract thinking.

The study points out that abstract thinking helps with problem-­solving, allowing for the discovery of “solutions that were not there before.” Finding unique solutions to problems is always good for business.

They inspire creativity

Sarcasm is not only a great mental workout, but it also enhances creativity.

The study found a “robust relationship between general forms of sarcasm and creativity” for people who both gave and received a sarcastic comment.

“Those in the sarcasm conditions subsequently performed better on creativity tasks than those in the sincere conditions or the control condition. This suggests that sarcasm has the potential to catalyze creativity in everyone,” Adam Galinsky, a member of the research team, told the Harvard Gazette.

Abstract thinking leads to creative thinking. It’s an asset that, as snarky small business owners know, helps us stay competitive in the business world.

They know when to use their sarcasm.

The study noted that “expressing or receiving sarcasm triggers a sense of conflict,” which explains why not everyone responds positively to sarcasm.

However, the study found that in order to minimize that conflict while still benefiting creatively, sarcasm is better used between people who have a trusting relationship.

Therefore, a sarcastic small business owner knows not to use sarcasm with an upset customer, for example, or with clients or employees they don’t know very well.

What’s important is knowing where that trusting relationship starts, and how to build on it. A successful small business owner will sprinkle in a sarcastic sense of humor just enough to improve both the morale of the team and its relationship with clients.

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