How Great Leaders Deal With Inner-Conflicts


By Jas Singh

Most of us know what we want most in life.

Many of us knows exactly what we need to do to get there.

Yet often our desire, motivation and beliefs fail to shine through. We fail to take action or give up too early.

Why do we do this?

It’s always nearly due to inner-conflicts.

In ten years as a hiring specialist, working with over 30,000 different people, I can say with confidence that inner-conflicts are sometimes one of the most understated yet critical hurdles to achievement.

Few people are consciously aware that for every skill and characteristic we try and develop, there are usually at least two or three that are trying to hold us back. Inner-conflicts that we must identify and overcome if we are to try and move forward.

You can’t be the most confident sales person in the world if you are also worried about rejection. You can’t be a successful entrepreneur if you also want security. You’ll never be a great leader if you’re focused on your end-of-year bonus.

Great leaders understand the presence and importance of overcoming inner-conflicts.

Here are some ways how great leaders deal with inner-conflicts.

They are honest about them

The biggest problem most of us have in dealing with inner-conflicts is that we tend to cover them up. As social creatures, pride and self-worth is high on our must have list.

It’s easier and quicker to come up with a clever rationalization and alibi than admit that it might be something to do with ourselves.

I see this every day. Hiring managers seeing the value of having a more robust hiring process, but rationalizing that they simply don’t have enough time to learn new techniques. Wannabe entrepreneurs explaining that they would have been millionaires years ago, but just can’t take the risk. Sales managers wanting their sales people to build long term relationships, yet still insisting they close all deals at any cost.

The best leaders I work with are brutally honest when it comes to inner-conflicts. They say it as it is. One of the UK’s top tech entrepreneurs I work with even openly admits that he is a heavy sleeper and could be even more successful if he wasn’t so lazy getting out of bed.

Honesty about oneself is the first step to any improvement.

Great leaders are honest about what is holding them back.

They respect them

Many people are very honest about inner-conflicts. The problem is they then tend to beat themselves up about them. Thinking that there must be something wrong with them. Or blaming others. Even blaming life itself. In extreme cases it can even lead to outright depression.

Great leaders remember everyone has weaknesses. Even Mother Nature herself often damages herself (bet she’s looking at the hole in the Ozone layer and thinking maybe mankind wasn’t such a great creation after all). As complex, highly cognitive creatures we don’t think in straight lines. Our desires, habits and beliefs are always changing.

In his ground breaking book “The chimp paradox“, Dr. Steve Peters consistently demonstrates that in order to overcome any inner-conflict or fear, you have to respect it in the first place. Hear it out. Listen to it’s story. Only then can you truly develop the self-belief and confidence that is necessary to make permanent change.

Just like you can’t overcome a raving client until you first have their respect, the same is true of our limiting beliefs.

Great leaders respect all beliefs. Even the limiting ones. Even if they’re our own.

They seek support 

Inner-conflicts are like two boxers fighting inside us. Each trying to nullify the other. Confidence vs fear. Motivation vs laziness. Helping others vs personal gain.

Just like two closely matched boxers, when the emotions are both powerful it can be a close call.

In order to increase our chances of making sure the right emotion wins we need to get leverage. Extra power to ensure the more empowering emotion triumphs.

The best way to do this is with the help of others. Just like a talented boxer still ensures he employs the best training team, great leaders make sure they use the support of others. Who only supply the positive side. To maximize our chances of following through.

Seeking the help and support of others is essential to success.


Inner-conflicts are a part of life.

How we identify, accept and overcome them often determines the quality of life we have.

Hiring managers shouldn’t just listen to whose the most convincing candidate. They should also identify any inner-conflicts to ensure they hire the right person.

It’s a quality that can be priceless.

How do you manage your inner-conflicts?

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