I first wrote this in 2009 as the country was just emerging from the depths of the Great Recession. Although the pandemic has been vastly different, we’re seeing many similarities in how people are handling this extended time of uncertainty. These types of conditions can cloud people’s understanding. This is a reminder for leaders at all levels to watch what you say; be careful of your actions. Others are watching.

Time for a gut check. In these turbulent times, are you being a good soldier?

A good soldier is someone who consistently displays the right attitude, no matter the conditions. A good soldier supports his/her leadership. A good soldier does whatever he/she can to help the entire platoon. A good soldier volunteers for the tough missions.

Let me share a story. Years ago, I was on the sales staff of a radio station. I had some seniority and was a top biller. At a typical b*tch lunch (you know, where all the sellers go to lunch together to complain about how crappy things are), one newer team member commented on how tough things were.

I said, in a very unflattering way, “I know, I’ve seen your billing!” Truth is, I had not seen his billing, I was just making a stupid, cocky comment. I had no idea if he was having a lousy month or a great month. I was just being a jerk.

Years later, that newbie became my manager, and one day, he reminded me of the comment I’d made. He told me he’d been devastated for a week. To be honest, I’d barely remembered making the comment. But here was his lesson for me … he said, “Tom, you don’t even realize what kind of weight your comments carry around here. You’re a leader in these halls. People watch what you do and say, more than you realize. So, when you make little jokes or negative comments of any kind, people listen.”

He then said, “I need you to be a good soldier. I need you to support my decisions, respect corporate, and be a positive force in these halls.”

I was blown away. Until he’d pointed this stuff out, I really hadn’t been aware of it. I just thought that anyone who would listen to anything I said was nuts to begin with! But, of course, his advice for me was spot on. From that point forward, I’ve monitored my words and actions to make sure I’m being a good soldier.

So I ask you, are you being a good soldier? You probably carry more weight than you realize. Others will take notice of your attitude and actions in these conditions more than you realize.

Here are 9 good soldier specifics sellers can do:

  • Refrain from sarcasm or negativity, even if joking
  • Sell the stuff that needs to be sold
  • Create a proposal or do research that everyone can use
  • Offer to lead a sales meeting
  • Share your success stories
  • Show up … mentally and physically
  • Avoid b*tch sessions
  • Buy something nice for the whole office to enjoy
  • Help a newbie (they may become your manager one day)

Margie Chilson is a Senior Marketing Consultant for JDA.media.

Her vast experience includes nearly three decades in broadcast television and digital sales marketing, working in and with multiple markets and affiliations including Dallas-Fort Worth at WFAA, Denver at KUSA-KTVD, KMGH, KWGN, and as a team manager at Millennium Television Sales.

Margie’s years as a local seller were award-winning and inspiration for her jump to JDA.media. She exceeded new business and digital goals on a consistent basis at Belo Corp., Scripps, Tribune, and TEGNA Inc. stations. A true innovator, Margie pioneered job-sharing positions in Dallas and Denver, balancing hectic work schedules and family, paving the way for working parents with careers in media sales.

Margie is well known and respected for her diligence, drive, and new business results. Due to her years in the business as an account executive and sales leader, she knows the station environment well and can easily relate to local sellers as well as the most senior managers.

An alum of Oklahoma State University who graduated with Honors in Journalism Advertising, Margie boasts an outstanding track record of helping business owners strategically grow their revenue through broadcast, streaming and digital solutions.

Margie and her husband Tim have been married for 23 years. The couple and their two children live in Littleton, CO, a suburb of Denver. Their son, Ryan, attends the University of Colorado Boulder, and their daughter, Mary, is in high school.  In their spare time, the Chilsons enjoy travel, hiking in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, cooking, watching movies, and cheering on their kids in various sporting events.