Back to resources

Common Management Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Personal Growth
Meetings
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Team Processes
New Manager Of Manager
Career Path

16 March, 2022

Omar Mekky
Omar Mekky

Sr. Director of Engineering at Swvl

Omar Mekky, Sr. Director of Engineering at Swvl, shares how he tackled the challenges of being a manager of managers and addressed them to help his managers lead and scale their teams.

The Struggle to Align Manager of Managers

As a senior director, I have directors reporting to me and senior engineering managers reporting to those managers, making me a manager of managers. This is a dreadfully exciting experience because senior engineering managers are like a needle in a haystack. The most challenging part of all is helping managers to delegate. Usually, strategic managers in the director levels do not dive into day-to-day operations but make sure that the team is aligned in the right direction. Managers growing in those roles usually either struggle with alignment or control. Management is about a balance between control and leadership while ensuring that the team does not make irreversible mistakes.

Recognize These Challenges and Address Them to Increase a Manager’s Confidence

It all begins with balancing letting people make mistakes, learning from them, and teaching them to navigate the political nature of an organization. In the end, being in a director role is all about improving strategies to achieve outcomes rather than a tactical hands-on role.

As much as the role heavily depends on the experiences and one’s skills of tackling situations, it also depends on how fast they can learn, being in the strategic seat everyone looks onto you to remove ambiguity and provide guidance, and more often, that ambiguity is probably not something you have experience dealing with before, especially that not all organizations are the same and each exhibit a different unknown unknowns.

Lastly, it all boils down to the delegation of responsibilities to your managers and trusting them. All I had to do was set guardrails around possible damage that could have happened, but I soon came to realize that one of the biggest challenges for me would be effectively passing on my learnings, experience, and knowledge to my managers. What I found very useful in tackling this challenge was having frequent 1:1s with my team, and I also learned that it's not enough to just lay out the direction but it's important to also give somebody to that strategy to help the team get started.

The higher level of all of that was trusting them and building trust as a manager through the process.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

10x engineer or 10x impact?

26 May

Hiring 10x engineers is hard for most companies. It’s a tough battle out there for talent. So how should most companies approach building their team?

Building A Team
Leadership
Hiring
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Vaidik Kapoor

Vaidik Kapoor

VP Engineering - DevOps & Security at Grofers

The Art of Asking Why: Narrowing the Gap Between Customers and Users

24 May

Jord Sips, Senior Product Manager at Mews, shares his expertise on a common challenge for product managers – finding root causes and solutions.

Customers
Innovation / Experiment
Product
Personal Growth
Leadership
Stakeholders
Users
Jord Sips

Jord Sips

Senior Product Manager at Mews

Managing Remotely: Balancing Team Cohesion and Focus Time

26 May

Jonathan Belcher, Engineering Manager at Curative, explains how to balance team cohesion and individual focus time, tapping into his experiences of working remotely for seven years.

Remote
Micromanagement
Meetings
Internal Communication
Productivity
Psychological Safety
Performance
Jonathan Belcher

Jonathan Belcher

Engineering Manager - Patient Experience at Curative

Streamlining Product Processes After a Reorganization

16 May

Snehal Shaha, Lead Technical Program Manager at Momentive (fka SurveyMonkey), details her short-term technical strategy to unify processes among teams following an acquisition.

Acquisition / Integration
Product Team
Product
Building A Team
Leadership
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Reorganization
Strategy
Team Processes
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Snehal Shaha

Snehal Shaha

Senior EPM/TPM at Apple Inc.

Growing Through Different Engineering Lead Roles

8 May

Weiyuan Liu describes his experience moving up from an individual contributor, tech lead, and engineering manager.

Leadership
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Career Path
Weiyuan Liu

Weiyuan Liu

Director of Engineering at Zillearn

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.