How many of you remember Aesop's fable about the man with two wives? For those in the C Suite, it's a fable very much worth remembering:
In the old days, when men were allowed to have many wives, a middle-aged Man had one wife that was old and one that was young; each loved him very much, and desired to see him like herself. Now the Man's hair was turning gray, which the young Wife did not like, as it made him look too old for her husband. So every night she used to comb his hair and pick out the white ones. But the elder Wife saw her husband growing gray with great pleasure, for she did not like to be mistaken for his mother. So every morning she used to arrange his hair and pick out as many of the black ones as she could. The consequence was the Man soon found himself entirely bald. Moral: Yield to all and you will soon have nothing to yield.
Whether you are a male or female executive, no hair is...well, not the best look for most of us. If you let colleagues pick at your follicles, giving each one what they want, when they want it, you'll end up like Aesop's barren-headed gentleman. Not a pretty sight for an executive and certainly not one to be respected. You can't be all things to all people.
Authentic leaders don't give everyone what they want: they always respectfully listen and consider, but in the end, THEY make the decision, guided by their best judgment. Authentic leadership is about being true to yourself and your instincts and sensibilities. After all, that's what got you into your leadership position.
So occasionally if you want to let someone have one of your executive follicles, go ahead, be magnanimous. Remember it's OK to say, "no," and it's perfectly fine to say, "no way!"
After all YOU are the leader!