When Leadership Becomes Toxic: The Double-Minded Dilemma

Throughout my leadership journey I have realized that not all are aware of the idea of being double-minded. In fact, I have also fallen guilty at times to it’s temptatious ways. That being said double-mindedness is one of the most toxic actions one can partake in with regards to effective leadership. In the Bible (James 1:8), it describes a double-minded man being “unstable in all his ways.” Unstable leadership is destined for failure. That being said a lot of people in leadership roles are unaware of their instability. Often times this is not easy to detect via self-reflection. As aspiring leaders, we really have to make it a point of emphasis to fight against double-minded actions. I’ve come to learn that double-mindedness is a double-edged sword in the sense it can involve both decisions in and outside of the workplace. It is crucial that aspiring leaders understand the toxicity of double-mindedness, while focusing their attention on making stable decisions that will help solidify their leadership’s effectiveness both in their own life and amongst their following.

Personal Life Double-Mindedness:

Aspiring leaders must understand, accept and embrace that effective leadership involves making sacrifices. One of the biggest issues I have come to realize in regards to holding leadership roles is the fact that so many people want to have it both ways. By this I mean they want to have the title of “Leader” however, they are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices to their personality and personal life outside of the workplace. It is important for us to accept that we are responsible for living a lifestyle that serves as the example for the rest of the group to follow. This means sacrificing various short-term worldly pleasures in order to maintain credibility and the long term respect and trust of our following. Contrary to popular belief, we cannot just be a leader when we want to. We must live an effective leadership lifestyle. This means making sound, responsible decisions not only within the workplace, but outside of it as well. I found that there are many leaders who succeed in terms of production inside of the workplace. However, despite that production, when the day is over they go about living their lives in a very toxic and irresponsible manner. While they may be able having success in their business life, the truth is they are living a double-minded, unstable lifestyle destined for eventual internal and/or external failure. That’s not to say that one shouldn’t and enjoy themselves outside of the workplace. We must simply accept the responsibility that certain sacrifices will need to be made in order to lead in the most effective and genuine way possible.

Side Note: Trade Double-Mindedness for Open-Mindedness:

In my opinion effective leaders need to be open minded and great listeners. Setting pride and ego aside play huge role in regards to earning respect and trust amongst one’s following. Many people unfortunately have a misconception that effective leadership means being demanding and needing to always have the answers. Where in reality it is the exact opposite. Effective leaders understand when their knowledge is lacking and they understand where the weaknesses are. They then take action to improve on those weaknesses while seeking advice and the opinions of others who are more qualified and or have more experience. Setting pride and ego aside is a crucial step towards developing respect. If we choose to trade double-mindedness for open mindedness, we set ourselves up for high-quality opportunities such as new innovative ideas from team members along with the development of healthy team chemistry and moral.


Work Life Double-mindedness:

Work life double mindedness deals with the decision-making done within the workplace. It is vital as effective leaders that we are very stable and decisive in our decision-making. This is not to be confused with simply making quick decisions that lack necessary research and input from others. Being stable and decisive involves making decisions with a purpose. And once a decision is made, going about it with 100% effort. One of the biggest tests of of an effective leader will come when adversity strikes after important decisions are made. Often times when people see initial negative outcomes, they immediately want to change. While this may be necessary at times, it can also be a double-minded trap. The bottom line is, people in leadership roles are expected to make important decisions. It is important we make these decisions with conviction while trusting that the outcome will result in how we originally perceived. Those who are double-minded in their decision-making may not even realize it in the moment. However, they are likely to be seen as unstable and untrustworthy in the eyes of their followers. That being said, it is vital we choose conviction over double- mindedness in regards to our decisions. There will be times where changes are necessary. Nevertheless, it is important we do not become erratic in our decision-making every time adversity hits.

In summary, there is no doubt that double- mindedness is a dangerous (often subconscious) temptation. Despite this often subconscious nature, recognizing and avoiding double-minded decisions will go a long way in enhancing our leadership credibility both within and outside of the workplace.

Published by Zachary Paul Hoffman

I am a former professional athlete, tri-lingual, Italian/American duel-citizen and aspiring modern-day leadership development expert.

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