(This post is excerpted from The 5 Coaching Habits of Excellent Leaders.)

Making early decisions about your priorities provides a double benefit for boosting your personal reliability. For example, you might say that your order of priorities for how you spend your time might be family, work, friends and community. Making that early decision about your priorities would make it easier to say “yes” to spending your time with your higher priorities and occasionally say “no” to requests for lower priorities.

The same would hold true for spending money. Let’s say your top priorities are to spend on items that have a long-term benefit like retirement savings and experiences your family can share. It becomes clear that you might say “no” to a new couch if it forces you to say “no” to your 401(k) or a family vacation.

Don’t think that saying “no” just means saying it to other people. Reliable people also say “no” to themselves – they sacrifice today (by saying “no” to something that might be fun or tempting) to achieve tomorrow’s rewards (saying “yes” to their ultimate goal). Knowing when to say “no” is not a once-in-awhile thing; it’s a daily action.

For example, if you spend two hours in a meeting that doesn’t help your team achieve its goals, you pay an opportunity cost by spending time on tasks that do not support your commitments. If you find yourself saying, “That was a waste of time,” “Boy, that didn’t add any value,” or “Why was I attending that meeting?”– these questions may be signs you need to say “no.” Reliable people consistently ask themselves, “Is this the best investment of my team’s attention at this moment?” If it is, they get busy. If it’s not, they refocus their attention.


Bring the powerful tools from The 5 Coaching Habits of Excellent Leaders to your organization with this Training Kit.

This just-add-water Training Kit includes:

  1. Facilitator Notes and Exercises
    • Detailed facilitator notes and engaging participant exercises to help any staff member confidently facilitate a high-impact, interactive workshop.
  2. Workshop slide show
    • 68 professionally designed slides that address all the key points from the book
  3. Participant Guide
    • 57-page print-ready guide for workshop participants.
    • Site license for unlimited reproduction for your internal company use.