LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner: Using Compassion To Build A Company

By Amit Chowdhry ● November 23, 2019
  • Recently, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner was interviewed by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman where they talked about having compassion while building a company

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is known for helping grow the professional social network from 33 million to 660 million. And he helped grow the company’s revenue to more than $7 billion. Plus he helped drive the company’s IPO leading up to the acquisition from Microsoft.

In an interview with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman during the Masters of Scale podcast, Weiner gave some business tips about what worked for him. What I learned from the podcast was that compassion management is Weiner’s drumbeat for leading a company.

“I couldn’t think of anything more important to teach than compassion,” said Weiner in the interview. “In a sense, compassion should be the platform upon which everything else is taught, especially in the modern era, especially with this increasing narrative about ‘us versus them.’”

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Weiner developed compassion while leading a team of thousands of people during a seven-year period working at Yahoo! While at Yahoo!, Weiner was especially compelled by a seminar hosted by a consultant named Fred Kofman.

“​The two of us got together for dinner and I was talking about what I wanted to do next. And I didn’t know specifically, but I had a sense of a personal vision I was interested in pursuing. And that was to help expand the world’s collective wisdom,” explained Weiner. “Fred sat back, and he said, ‘That’s really interesting. I can see why you’re excited about that. But wisdom without compassion is ruthlessness, and compassion without wisdom is folly.’”

To gain a better insight into how LinkedIn works, Weiner decided to have a meeting with every one of the 330 employees during the transition to the CEO role.

“I wanted to make sure I understood what was happening, and I wanted to learn as much as possible from the people who had developed the company up until that point,” Weiner reminisced. “For me, leadership is the ability to inspire others to achieve shared objectives. I think that’s what separates leaders from managers. Managers tell people what to do. Leaders hopefully inspire them to do it.”