The CEO of a large not-for-profit organization recently shared with me something he learned about his employees during the stresses of COVID-19: of his 400 strong workforce, the people who were performing the best, and in many cases exceeding his expectations, were those who he knew to be optimistic. This article by Tim Baker at the Australian HR Institute proves that positive people have the power to get things done in their workplaces. During these uncertain times, optimism is becoming increasingly valued and celebrated within the organization. Here are a few reasons why optimistic employees are important to have around during COVID-19.

Optimistic Employees are Resilient

Because of their ability to expect the best during times of uncertainty, optimistic employees are resilient. Optimistic employees will fare well during times of pressure, and demonstrate persistence and tenacity. Challenges don’t bring optimistic employees down; in fact in many cases these challenges will spur them on.

Optimistic Employees are Proactive

Typically the sort of people who push for changes in the workplace, optimistic employees are certainly likely to be early adopters of new ways of doing tasks. They are also likely to be good at goal setting, because they are certain about their future and where they want to be.

Optimistic Employees are Engaged

Even if they are working from home, or a different worksite, or if they are working less hours than usual, optimistic employees will maintain their engagement with the organization. During tough times, optimistic employees will display high levels of energy, a willingness to invest in what they are working on and persistence to see their work to completion. They are more likely to be able to concentrate, will be self-motivated and will remember the significance of their work.

Optimistic Employees Build Networks

Optimistic employees are likely to be relationship builders- they have the ability to ask for help when they need to and seek support in both their personal and professional lives. If an optimistic employee is charged with a project, they will likely find it easy to gather the resources they need. Optimism is contagious; other staff will seek to connect with an optimistic employee and be willing to contribute where they can. Positive Psychology posted this article proving that people who interact with others in a positive way will promote trust and inspire others to improve their performance.

Optimistic Employees are Less Likely to be Stressed

Because of their faith in the future, optimistic employees are less likely to be affected by workplace stress, and less likely to experience burnout or fatigue. An optimistic employee is also likely to have the ability to encourage and reassure those who are struggling, having a positive impact on overall morale.

Optimistic Employees can Handle Feedback

If an optimistic employee does miss the mark, or goes off on a tangent, they are likely to be willing and interested to hear feedback. Most optimistic employees have the ability to learn from feedback, and not take criticism personally. Optimistic employees know that mistakes at work present them with the opportunity to learn how to improve their work. This makes performance reviews with the optimistic employee a pleasure.

That CEO was right; optimism is really a trait for our times. Optimistic employees have the ability to be positive and hopeful about their own future and the future of their organizations. Optimism extends beyond resilience. Optimistic employees not only survive but can thrive during a crisis.