Leadership

LinkedIn's CEO shares the 2 most important things he learned from his parents

The skill American businessman and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is most endorsed for on his own LinkedIn profile is, unsurprisingly, "leadership."

Earlier this year, Weiner announced he would give away his $14 million annual stock bonus to his employees, as a way to boost company morale and hold onto talented employees. During an interview with Gayle King for a Master Class Q&A at Hearst Tower, Weiner said the values that his parents taught him led him to make the donation.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner sat down with O, The Oprah Magazine editor-at-large Gayle King at Hearst Tower.
Philip Friedman | Studio D
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner sat down with O, The Oprah Magazine editor-at-large Gayle King at Hearst Tower.

Weiner, 47, pointed to his mother and father in the audience and said, "I learned a lot from my parents." When King asked if they were surprised, his mother said, "Not for one minute." His father said he was surprised, but very pleased. Weiner said the decision was simple because he felt his values were aligned.

"We used to talk about trusting my gut, trusting my instinct and not over-intellectualizing things," Weiner says. "And when something feels like the right thing to do, you just do it."

Weiner spoke with CNBC after the event and shared two major ways in which his parents influence his leadership style today.

Mom taught him: Reading is fundamental

Weiner tells CNBC that his mother taught him how to read at a young age.

"That is where that intellectual curiosity came from," he says. During the #firstsevenjobs challenge on Twitter last year, Weiner noted "reading tutor" as one of his first gigs.

Weiner adds the ability to ask questions and search for answers through reading books was a big confidence boost.

"Whenever I had a question, I would be able to find it out, and this pre-Google obviously," Weiner tells CNBC. "The World Book Encyclopedia was my big source."

Dad taught him: Keep your eyes on the prize

Weiner is no stranger to bringing his parents to public functions. In 2013, he hosted LinkedIn's inaugural "Bring In Your Parents to Work" Day.

Weiner tells CNBC about a daily ritual his dad shared with him growing up that he didn't fully appreciate until he was older.

"Every night before bed he would say, 'You can do anything you set your mind to' and he said it so often it eventually became like a bromide, like 'finish your vegetables'," Weiner says.

He tells CNBC he realized his father's advice inspired the question he now poses when people ask for his advice: "What is it you ultimately want to accomplish?"

"I thought all parents told their kids that and I didn't fully appreciate what my dad was doing was really special," Weiner says. "The biggest thing behind it is the fact that he meant it."

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