That grumpy person at your job may be your best worker. According to a new study published in Social Psychology, a person considered a “hater” may be a better employee because he spends time on fewer activities.
Researchers Justin Hepler (Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Dolores Albarracín (Annenberg School for Communication and Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania) found that people who like many things have a positive attitude and do more things during a week compared to people who dislike many things (the haters), who end up doing fewer things during the same time frame.
Helper and Albarracín showed in two studies that “likers” and haters don’t differ in the types of activities pursued, but that haters just do fewer of them and focused more time on their chosen activities.
“The present results demonstrate that patterns of general action may occur for reasons other than the desire to be active versus inactive,” the researchers wrote. “Indeed, some people may be more active than others not because they want to be active per se, but because they identify a large number of specific behaviors in which they want to engage.”
Helper and Albarracín suggest that these findings can be implemented in work strategies. For example, if you have a hater at work, find an activity he likes and let him focus his whole attention on it. He will develop better skills and be more productive.
He just may not be the most pleasant person to be around.