We love it when communication flows. Everything we do at 4PSA revolves around communication and collaboration, so we believe strongly in the power of using these as tools for building teams and businesses. But sometimes, shutting up can help too.
According to a study published in the Journal Of Social & Personal Relationships, blocking communications with negative people can increase your productivity and even boost your IQ. It’s the kind of research that seems to reach an obvious conclusion, but most of us are oblivious to these teachings our entire lives.
Shun the haters
According to the paper, participants in the study were asked to complete a cognitive task after conversing with a highly likeable, and then a highly unlikeable acquaintance. Good performance in the respective task hinged on successful thought regulation. What they found was:
- participants performed badly in the self-regulatory task after conversing with the unlikeable person
- participants performed slightly better after conversing with the likeable person
- during aversive interactions, silent treatment allowed the subjects to conserve regulatory resources and perform the task much better
By replicating this crossover interaction using an alternative measure of self-regulation, the participants who had ignored the rude and bigoted acquaintance excelled at the thought exercises, compared to those who had engaged with them and ended up performing poorly. The conclusion requires no further explanation on our part. Keeping haters at bay allows your mind to stay focused and productive.
This doesn’t mean you need to get rid of every unhappy person in your organization. Their unhappiness can be rooted in the company’s politics, and can be fixed. Or maybe they are just going through some hard times. However, when a person shows no willingness to shake off their pessimism, ignoring them may be the only way to avoid falling in their toxic trap.