These are the two most important secrets of a leader’s motivation. Persistence and passion.

Embark on a journey with us as we delve into the insights and experiences of Gábor Kovács, a seasoned professional with over 25 years of invaluable expertise in the international BPO landscape. Gábor's journey to UCC is not just about a career move; it's a testament to the wealth of knowledge and passion he brings to our team. In our candid conversation, we explore the essence of leadership, the nuances of motivation in virtual workspaces and the moments of fulfillment that drive Gábor in his role.

Join us as we uncover Gábor's proudest successes, his vision for the future and the profound impact he aims to make at UCC.


What brought you to the UCC?

I was fortunate to start my professional career at the same time as the industry was booming in Hungary. I was first placed in a global company that, in addition to being global, placed great emphasis on the importance of a positive company environment. That's what I absorbed and that's what made me who I am today. I am grateful to everyone who trusted and supported me.

Three years ago, there was a change of ownership, which brought about a major change in approach. I noticed that the values I believe in were becoming less and less important, posing serious challenges for the local organization. However, as I have experienced many times in my life, when one door closes, another one opens. Things happened very quickly and it became clear that the dynamic development of UCC offered me an attractive opportunity to create value. It is by no means a place where I am just a small cog in a faceless global organization. Moreover, I can do so in the positive culture in which I "grew up."

Game Theory says that the longer you wait for the bus at the bus stop, the harder it is to change buses to go the other way. So I took action and stopped waiting... to my delight, the UCC was also completely open to my direction and this released positive energy in me.


What do you like about being a leader? What have you learned?

When I think back to my childhood, I was not the one who stood in the middle of the square and everyone ran after him. I always had an ars poetics of "more sense than force" and following that, I constantly found myself in a leadership role. Whether it be in an elementary school, high school football team or conscript environment. I'm not a loud-mouth, tell-it-like-it-is type of leader; I believe in situational leadership. The kind of leadership that gives you wings and doesn't delegate tasks to be done. I support, I listen, I help, I share experience, but I do it firmly. Make it more than just a job.

I am often amazed at how people sometimes think of leadership with the wrong motivation. Once a long time ago, a dear colleague of mine, when I asked him about his motivation in an internal competition, said that he would like to be a manager so that he would have to work less... The truth is that being a manager, especially at a higher level, is a 7/24-hour job because the responsibility of management is always there. The question is whether this inspires or overwhelms. In my opinion, this is partly what determines what kind of leader someone becomes.

There is another moment that I will never forget. I was already an account manager when I felt overwhelmed by the situation, like waves crashing over me. I went to my boss and asked him if there was anything else I could do for the company because I felt like I couldn't handle it anymore. In his calm manner, he looked me in the eye and said, “Gábor, let's pretend this conversation never happened. I know you can do it, go back and continue!” I returned as a different person and truly "made it." The confidence of a good leader gives wings.

In addition to my own experiences, I was also very influenced by some books I read on leadership. One of the most influential of these is Simon Sinek's Good Leaders Eat Last. I play a few minutes of this video with the participants at every career program.

In this book, Sinek illustrates with real-life cases that being a leader is first and foremost about caring for those entrusted to our care.

SIMON SINEK: Leader verus manager (

Leaders Eat Last | Simon Sinek (


Which of your successes are you most proud of?

I'll give you two at once: one is personal, the other is business.

Early in my management career, I was confronted by a colleague who had been labeled a troublemaker by his previous manager and who seemed to be a real daredevil in his role, seemingly enjoying the attention of his peers. When I first had a serious conversation with him, it turned out that he had very good insights. It was clear what success could be achieved if he channeled his energies in a positive direction. I gave him tasks - they grew bigger over time - and he underwent constant change. Today, he is one of the people who took over the baton from me after 20 years.

Another success story in business. Throughout my career, I've seen that from small seeds, with the right "watering" and "care", a huge tree can grow. To give a concrete example, a small opportunity with a leading Asian mobile phone company, which is still a market leader today, has been the fruit of a successful partnership of more than 100 people for more than 15 years.


The vast majority of our staff work from home. How do you think an employee can be motivated in the virtual space?

The BPO world brings people from different backgrounds, experiences and ages, so it is important to carefully outline the goal to be achieved: Where we are going and what we want to achieve.

Everyone must have an answer to these “whys”. It is crucial to see that we are all part of a team working towards a common goal. If there is no answer to the “why”, there will be no inspiration. The leader must also recognize the tools in the online space that will best inspire, build the team and provide the right answers to the “why”. In this virtual world, the focus on each other needs to be more concentrated, as office fruit days are replaced by a digital platform, building a community where you need to find the topics that best motivate the team, be it a multicultural cooking competition or gardening. Innovation is a valued openness to new things and ideas. I find that these communities build more naturally, more easily, when you start working on them in the first place. That’s one of the significant advantages of UCC over companies that only started this process because of COVID-19.

At West Point, the world's most famous military academy - where it's not easy to get in, but not easy to stay in - a targeted study has been carried out to find out what distinguishes those who stay in from those who get in but have dropped out over the years. The answer surprised even the researchers. It turns out that it’s not the strongest, the smartest, or the most race-winners who stay in, but those who may be behind their peers in certain skills but have the perseverance and passion for the goal.

I think that these are the two most important secrets of a leader's motivation in the longer term, and they also work in the virtual space. Persistence and passion. If the team sees these in you in an authentic way, then motivation works online too. Have a clear purpose and a "why" to keep your team fired up.


When do you feel satisfied at work?

I rarely experience complete satisfaction, but I am certainly happy with success. They are important to recognize and celebrate and of course, it is never just the success of the leader, it is also the success of the team. As I have already shown in my example, for me, success has a business results component and an organizational component. True success comes from the interplay of the two. When they said goodbye to me at my previous job, I was given an album with lots of memories and personal messages. Perhaps it was the moment that was closest to it.


Finally, what do you see as your role and what do you want to achieve at UCC?

I feel at home from the first moment, it's great to see the talent and innovation in the team. Both the business and the organization are at a major stage of development and I want to use my experience and energy to serve this growth with a dogged passion. Knowing the market, I believe that our company's offering and operating model are unique and that we stand at the gateway to significant opportunities as we continue to develop and build on them.