Here’s something much easier to read hopefully, compared to the previous, quite technical posts. MoneyGram International runs a “3 questions to…” series in the corporate newsletter with the aim to bring the team closer and shed some light on the profiles of senior leadership in the company. My turn to answer 3 questions came last week and I’m glad, because that’s always an opportunity to practice the non-technical writing. I didn’t expect much out of it, but the feedback was exceptionally positive. Well, positive enough to convince me it might be worth sharing with LinkedIn. What do you think?

You’re managing multiple IT Teams at MGI. What skills do you find exceptionally useful in your role?

Empathy, the queen of all skills is probably worth mentioning on the top spot. This is especially important if your teams work from all around the globe and come from a variety of cultures. Leading such teams is often a challenge, even in IT, where information is crisp and precise. Same message is worth conveying in a variety of ways, staying considerate of how others might look at challenges or upcoming projects. Likewise, sometimes substantially different encouragement is needed in order to gain valuable input and uncover true potential of individuals. Being considerate about those differences and yet not losing track of the technical bits and the end goal is a great challenge to have. I believe that empathy is the key to victory in this aspect.

What are the biggest challenges you face at MoneyGram and how do you address them?

I’m sure everyone mentioned time zone difference between Europe and the US, so I’ll skip that and mention something from technology perspective. As such, while we deliver interesting solutions to the market, I believe we can still do better from the perspective of internal and customer facing technology. While staying abreast is an area dedicated to roles outside of IT Operations, I’m putting extra efforts to bring up some ideas and gain resources to new projects.

Based on your professional experience, what career advice would you give to your colleagues at MoneyGram?

I try to give advice to my team (then it’s called “direction”;) ) all the time, so to give one piece of advice now in general is not an easy task without sounding trivial, but let me give it a try. I believe that many people underestimate the power of research. For example, every time I hear or read anything I don’t know or am not sure about, I make sure I write it down. I then have a dedicated time slot, negotiated carefully with my wife, where I follow up on each item on my research list. Sometimes reading is not enough and I end up like building a proof of concept. I never let information get past me without verification – if there’s a chance to broaden knowledge in the area I’m working in, then it is certainly worth following through. Having strong understanding of all aspects results in working less on assumptions, which gives confidence a great boost. And what’s a leader without confidence?

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