Mario Pauskar, CTO of Ridango: “My main goal is to help my team members become more successful by removing obstacles from their path”
Mario Pauskar is the Chief Technology Officer at Ridango. He joined Ridango five months ago, and was previously leading the IT Support and Operations Centre in Swedbank. Mario has over sixteen years of experience in the field of IT, starting out as a technician back in the early days and climbing his way up the IT career ladder.
Can you guess what are the three most important character traits a software engineer needs to have, according to Mario? Read our latest “Inside Ridango” interview and you’ll find out, alongside with how a manager can help his or her team members reach the next level in their careers, but also Mario’s favourite tactic to motivate his team.
“Inside Ridango” is a series of interview segments on the professionals working within different roles at Ridango, focusing on the people who strive to achieve a mutual goal of helping millions of people around the world to use public transport simply and seamlessly
Every kid has a dream about who they’d like to become. For example, I wanted to become a cop, because I liked the sound of sirens and their sense of excitement for some reason. When you were a kid, who did you want to become?
Every time I looked at the stars it felt so mysterious and untouchable. My personality needs to understand the core nature of things and therefore I probably wanted to become an astronaut – to go into space and discover the mysteries and wonders of the universe for myself.
And yet here we are, talking to you as the CTO of Ridango. How did you find your way to the IT and technology industry? When did you discover that you’re passionate about technology and wanted to pursue a career in IT?
My grandparents had a small farm and that is why I have done almost every job you could imagine, related to farming, caring for animals and working the fields with different tractors and machinery. At some point I just realized, this is not for me and I want a job behind the desk.
Since computers and electronics were always interesting to me as a kid, it felt like a logical path to take. At the same time there was a journal named “Arvutimaailm”, where some of the articles were so interesting and igniting, from that point then I can call myself a “lost cause”.
When talking about your average day as CTO of Ridango, how are your days usually structured?
As you said there is no average day, however if I try to explain what I’m trying to find time for every day, then as a manager I believe my most important role is to work with people – not only within my own team but also with our partners. After all business doesn’t happen with processes alone, it is generated between people and relationships they build.
Second thing is understanding “WHY”. Why are we doing all of this and where are we heading? What are our goals and explaining and simplifying these for people by eliminating the obstacles in their path and by making working agreements.
Overall IT is a very tough area to work in, considering how fast technology is changing, then I always try to read news/articles/blogs related to our industry trends and innovation all to keep myself in shape.
“After all business doesn’t happen with processes alone, it is generated between people and relationships they build.”
Since we’re talking about careers, I’d also like to get the following out there. In your opinion, what are the three most important character traits that a person should have when considering a career as a software engineer?
That’s a good one 😊 . I believe that most important characteristic in any profession is person’s attitude – everything starts from and ends there. When soft values are established, we can then talk about hard values. Secondly – I have seen all too many times how people define boundaries for themselves.
From my experience, the most successful people seem to be those that are consistent and that have some level of stubbornness about them. The
wiliness not to just give up, and keep trying can all help to make you more successful.
Thirdly you need to have lots of curiosity and the hunger to dig deep into the challenges you will need to solve later down the road.
As a manager, what are some of your favourite tactics to motivate the team?
I believe being a servant-minded leader is the best way to motivate your team. Basically, my biggest role is to make my team members more successful by removing obstacles from their path.
Also, if they achieve something, then this is not my victory, it’s theirs and I let them present the outcome to a bigger audience and take credit where it is due. Without explaining WHY, all I’ve said previously are just words that don’t matter, it’s because people need to believe in something bigger – a core belief that what we are doing is something that really matters to others.
Of course, there is more to it, but securing the core values can help your people achieve greatness and even move mountains.
“I believe being a servant-minded leader is the best way to motivate your team.”
A manager should also have the ability to help team members succeed and reach the next level in their careers. One of the most important discussions you can have as a manager is deciding on a team member goals. Not the company’s KPIs, but their own personal goals, since this is especially powerful when you tap into someones core drivers, you can find out how to boost their motivation for the task in hand. How do you, as a manager, help your team succeed and make sure their motivation is high?
It’s a long answer, but if I try to make it shorter, then constantly pushing people out of their comfort zone – and mean it in a good way – and this is paramount. Always try to give them tasks that help them learn or do something new, because real development doesn’t happen when you feel too comfortable.
And one of my key drivers, when working with people, is to make our entire journey valuable – every person has their own path and it’s important to me that at the end of our joint ride together they come away having more skills and greater experience in their tool kit than at the beginning.
“One of my key drivers, when working with people, is to make our entire journey valuable.”
You joined Ridango this year. Tell us, how did we win you over and why did you decide to join Ridango?
It was a combination of several aspects. Last year I had the idea that I would like to move closer to the business side of things in my next role, when the moment should arise. The prospect of working at Ridango offered me exactly what I was looking for, and considering I had already spent 4 and a half years working at my previous company, it felt like it was the right time to move on.
Even more importantly for me was that I saw a great challenge in being part of some company’s rapid growth journey, where the chapter of being a smaller organisation was closing and the next one – a new and even bigger and more exiting chapter – was starting. I felt like the opportunity to be one of the co-writers in this new journey of lifting the company up to the next level.