Creating Boundaries for Better Leadership with LeeAnn Garrick, COO, Cook Inlet Tribal Council

LeeAnn Headshot

Is saying yes to too many opportunities getting in the way of being the leader you need to be?

In a world full of opportunities and endless demands, knowing when to say “no” can be a transformative skill for a leader. But finding the balance between seizing opportunities and protecting our limits is a delicate dance many of us struggle with.

With over 25 years in leadership, podcast guest, LeeAnn Garrick, has been on a journey of learning to set boundaries throughout her career. LeeAnn is the Chief Operating Officer of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council where she manages operational units and large-scale programs. As a recovering “yes” person, she’s learned to say no among a slew of work commitments and personal responsibilities to safeguard her well-being.

In this episode, LeeAnn recounts a time when she turned down a prestigious fellowship to which she initially said yes. She describes going back to her boss to turn down the opportunity and shares what she learned from that experience. LeeAnn explores where her “yes” attitude comes from and how it’s shifted throughout her career.  

We also unpack how difficult it can be to say no and how the first step is self-awareness. Even though she still trips up from time to time, she’s learned that every opportunity is not worth her energy. Finally, she ends by offering advice on how you can decide what opportunities are right for you in your career.

Key Highlights

  • LeeAnn was saying yes to too many opportunities because of FOMO (fear of missing out) and not letting others down.
  • The first step in learning to say no was just being aware of when she said yes and then regretted it. It took her a while to act on and start saying no.
  • She now looks at the opportunities that come to her as an opportunity for her team to fill in, so they can grow and develop.
  • LeeAnn thinks it’s vital to support other people’s “no’s”, especially in the workplace.
  • Before committing, take a beat and give yourself space before deciding.
  • Think about two things – how you want to use your time and strategically what you want to get done.
  • Before committing to something, ask yourself, “Does it work for my life?”

Links Mentioned

LeeAnn’s LinkedIn profile