top of page

7 Questions on Leadership with Ravi Subbiah

Name: Ravi Subbiah

Title: Consulting Partner

Organisation: TCS Ltd

Location: India

Ravi Subbiah is a distinguished figure in the field of cybersecurity, whose expertise and leadership have made him an invaluable asset to the industry. Certified in a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity qualifications, Ravi embodies both the technical acumen and leadership qualities essential to navigate the complex landscape of information security.

Ravi embarked on his cybersecurity journey with a passion for protecting digital infrastructures from emerging threats. His relentless pursuit of knowledge led him to acquire multiple certifications, solidifying his command over various cybersecurity domains. These credentials are not mere symbols of theoretical understanding; they are a testament to his practical prowess in implementing robust security measures.

A natural team player, his collaborative spirit is evident in the way he approaches problem-solving. His ability to articulate complex security concepts in accessible language empowers his colleagues, fostering an environment of shared learning and mutual growth. His communication skills, coupled with technical expertise, enable him to build resilient teams capable of tackling challenging security incidents.

As a leader, his influence extends beyond his immediate team. Under his guidance, his teams have not only fortified defenses but have also navigated the aftermath of security breaches with poise and professionalism.

Ravi’s strategic vision is integral to his leadership style. He recognizes the dynamic nature of cyber threats and emphasizes the importance of adaptability and continuous learning. His forward-thinking approach ensures that his teams are always prepared for future challenges, safeguarding their organizations against the ever-evolving threat landscape.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Ravi's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The most challenging aspect of leadership has been to maintain the pace of innovation while ensuring operational stability in the current field. As a leader, I need to constantly strategize for the integration of cutting-edge solutions without disrupting ongoing projects due to rapid evolution of technologies.

Another significant challenge is bridging the skills gap. With technology advancing at breakneck speed, there is a perpetual need for up-skilling the team and developing continuous learning culture.

Keeping the team motivated in the face of high-pressure projects and tight delivery timelines also presents a challenge. Managing conflicts effectively in an organization is the responsibility of the leader.

Managing client expectations in an industry where the goalposts are continuously moving is immensely challenging. It requires clear communication, negotiation skills, and the ability to manage both the team's and the clients' expectations effectively.

Cybersecurity is an ever-present concern in the IT landscape. As a leader, ensuring robust security practices while managing the associated costs and keeping the team well-informed of the latest threats adds an extra layer of complexity to the role.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I started taking leadership roles from a young age, whether it be in school, sports teams, college and also in various organizations and organizational events. This has come through a combination of experience, mentorship, and personal growth. Their mentorship helped me understand the importance of clarity, focus, communication, empathy, and integrity in leadership.

Over the years, I have been able to refine my leadership skills and make a positive impact on those around me by empowering and inspiring others which I have been able to do successfully.

Also, I am a very good team player as I have played multiple roles in the team throughout my career supporting and also leading the team, which helped with my leadership qualities.

I am a good listener, constant learner, accountable, focused, empathetic which helped me to become a leader.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I structure my day as below.

a. Morning walk at least 3 to 4 times a week

b. I start at 9 a.m. with focused work that extends through the day. I plan short breaks in between work to maintain an elevated level of productivity and prevent burnout. I have a different routine each day as the need differs due to my consulting activities.

c. After work, I use the evenings for personal time, including hobbies, relaxation, and spending time with family. I also attend a few office meetings after work to support. I wrap up my day with the plan for the next day making sure I wind up around 11:00 p.m.

Overall, this structured approach to my workday allows me to maintain a healthy work-life balance, prioritize personal wellness, and achieve maximum productivity in my professional endeavors. From adaptability perspective there is an exception in the above schedule.


4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

One recent leadership lesson I have been reminded of is the importance of adaptability and flexibility in leading a team. As a leader, it is crucial to be able to adjust and respond to changes in the business environment, client needs, and team dynamics. I have learned that even the most well-thought-out plans can be disrupted by unexpected events, and as a leader, it is my responsibility to navigate through those disruptions in a way that minimizes the impact on my team, client deliverables and organization.

This lesson was reinforced when our team faced a significant setback due to a change in scope because of business needs. I quickly realized that our existing strategies and plans had to be revamped and adjusted to align with the new scope and needs for business. It required me to be open, responsive, and willing to make tough decisions to pivot our approach.

Through this experience, I understood the necessity of embracing change and leading by example during challenging times, to empower and inspire my team to do the same. What I've figured out is that a leader who keeps pushing ahead automatically motivates the team to follow in the same direction. When a leader decides to move forward, they might face difficulties, but overcoming these challenges is crucial to keeping the entire group moving ahead.

Overall, leadership lessons are about the strong connection between a leader sticking to their goals, the team getting inspired, and the determination needed to overcome challenges.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

One book that has profoundly influenced leadership is "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek. Sinek's insightful analysis of what makes leaders inspiring has transformed my perspective on leadership.

The central thesis of "Leaders Eat Last" is that great leaders create environments of trust and cooperation. Sinek argues that when leaders prioritize the well-being of their team, they foster loyalty and build stronger, more resilient organizations. The book impacted my leadership qualities by driving home the importance of empathy and service to others in leadership roles. It led to a personal revelation that my responsibilities as a leader extend beyond the bottom line; they encompass the health and happiness of my team.

It has encouraged me to adopt a more people-centric approach to leadership. I began to prioritize open communication, ensuring my team felt heard and valued. By practicing active listening and expressing genuine concern for my team's challenges, I noticed an increase in engagement and morale. The idea that 'leaders eat last' became my mantra, helping me to demonstrate my commitment to my team by putting their needs before my own.

The lessons from "Leaders Eat Last" have been instrumental in guiding how I lead. It has taught me that the path to becoming a successful leader is paved with acts of integrity, selflessness, and a deep-rooted desire to uplift those around me.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

The one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be to embrace empathy and understand the importance of emotional intelligence.

Lead with understanding and compassion for your team, as this will help build trust and inspire loyalty, paving the way for collective success and fulfillment.

Leaders who possess empathy with emotional intelligence are better equipped to Active listening, Open communication, Resolve conflicts, Have Personal Interest to learn about team member, Support and Guide team, Appreciate the team, Fairness, Consistent, share experiences and motivate their team members.

Showing empathy in leadership isn’t just about being kind; it's about fostering a culture where every team member feels respected and valued, leading to a motivated, committed, and cohesive team bringing overall success for the organization.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

One meaningful story that comes to mind during my initial year as a leader is the time where I led a team through a challenging project that seemed nearly impossible to complete within the given time frame due to multiple challenges across. The project required intense collaboration, coordination, innovation, and quick decision-making skills. Despite the odds being against us, my team and I worked tirelessly, and through effective communication and strategic planning, we successfully navigated our way through the complexities of the project and ultimately achieved our goals within the designated time frame. It was a testament to the power of teamwork, resilience, and unwavering determination.

Another story is of the instance where one of the team members, who was usually very punctual and productive, started coming to work late and seemed distracted during meetings. Rather than reprimanding him for the drop in performance, I chose to approach the situation with empathy.

I scheduled a private meeting with that team member to discuss any challenges he might be facing. During the conversation, I understood that the team member was going through a tough time dealing with a family health crisis. I expressed genuine concern about the situation and offered flexible working hours and the option to work from home when needed so he could spend time with his family.

This empathetic approach not only helped him navigate his difficult personal circumstances but also ensured he remained an integral part of the team. His colleagues were also touched by the show of support, which strengthened team morale and loyalty. My thoughtful leadership showed a balance between task orientation and people orientation, ultimately leading the team to successful project completion and fostering a strong, supportive team culture.

32 views0 comments
bottom of page