Micromanagement Doesn’t Work - Why Heart-Centered Leadership Is Best

Managers are the fearless leaders of the workplace. They carry the responsibility of keeping the business running efficiently while balancing it with employee morale. Humans are emotional beings. Some people may seem more emotional than others, but even the most cool and collected individual will bristle at the berating of a micromanager. People carry a sense of pride in their work, and they may get defensive when someone questions their work or critiques too often. There is a place for constructive feedback when it’s needed. What makes all the difference is how you present the feedback. This is why micromanagement doesn’t work. The best way to manage your team is from the heart.

The Difference Heart-Centered Leadership Can Bring

Often managers do not even realize they have crossed over into micromanagement. They may have been raised in a home with criticism or learned the behavior from previous work experience. They may have their own baggage, insecurities, and control issues. After all, managers are human, too. So how can you be an effective leader without stepping into micromanagement? Learn how to use heart-centered leadership to engage your workforce, and you will see a positive shift in attitude and even work ethic in your team.


When employees feel respected by their leadership, they feel empowered to take personal responsibility and ownership of the work they do. When an employee perceives that leadership is not satisfied with their work, they will often give up and feel like nothing they do is good enough. When you take the time to listen to your employees, you will gain an understanding of what is behind the issue they are having. Open communication focusing on empathy will allow your employees to let down the walls they have built up to protect themselves from criticism and offense. 

Listen First Before Helping

When you notice a potential issue, your first instinct may be to address it head-on. Instead of jumping in to put out the fires, take a step back to listen and observe. Often, employees will tell you their shortcomings and provide their own solution if you give them time to talk about the issue. If approached directly they may respond negatively or feel rejected. When you approach them with a place of listening and understanding, the employee may open and up and confess their need for help. This allows you to step in without stepping on toes. 

Clarify Your Role As Helper

Employees are often afraid to ask for help or appear as if they can’t handle their work. After all, you are the one to evaluate their performance. Even with the best communication and trust, they may still hide the fact that they are struggling. You can assure them that you’re there as an adviser, not an evaluator. Be clear with what you are trying to accomplish with your intervention.

Align Your Involvement With The Needs Of The People

Your level of involvement may vary from person to person, depending on their role and the type of work they do. If the work is more complex and demanding, you may need to dive deeper into your role of helper. For less demanding roles, your help may be needed more by taking pressure off staff and helping in more minor ways. For example, stopping by now and then to listen to concerns, jumping in to take a client call when understaffed, or any small roadblocks you can remove to make their job easier. When you give help at the right time, it is more likely to be well received and appreciated. When advice is provided after a problem emerges, rather than beforehand, employees will understand and value your input more.   

The Difference Between A Micromanager And A Heart-Centered Manager

There are four simple ways you can tell the difference between a micromanager and a heart-centered manager.


  • “Tells”
  • Focus on the “how.”
  • Wants to own your work
  • Gives feedback too late

Heart-centered Manager

  • “Asks”
  • Explains the “why”.
  • Wants you to own your work.
  • Provides ongoing feedback.


Burnout is one of the adverse effects of micromanagement. Employees are 43% less likely to experience high levels of burnout when choosing what tasks to do, when to do them, and how much time to spend on them. Often the employee knows when and how they do their best work. Each individual work style is unique to each person. What works best for one person does not mean it will work best for all. Allowing employees the opportunity to self-manage in areas that can give them a sense of empowerment and will enable them to take ownership of their work. You know you are doing well with effective leadership when you can let go and allow employees to self-monitor and correct their mistakes without having to step in every time.


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