Leadership

LinkedIn’s CEO says these are the 3 things ‘too often taken for granted’

Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn

Since taking over as LinkedIn's CEO in 2009, Jeff Weiner has accomplished a great deal to earn him the title of Highest Rated CEO.

He has grown LinkedIn's membership base from 33 million to more than 430 million and its revenue from $78 million to over $3 billion. Refreshingly, throughout, Weiner has never lost sight of the things that truly matter in life.

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That's why, for a man of his magnitude and status, his tweet on Thursday was so profound in its simplicity. It puts everything into perspective, whatever your job, role, rank or status:

As I've gotten older myself, I can attest that I do take those things for granted, so this was a wake-up call to reset my GPS toward my true north.

Let's dig deeper into Weiner's leadership habits and appreciate how he practices the three virtues of health, love and time.

Health

While "health" can take on many forms, Weiner has always stressed the importance of meditation in the business world. He uses the Headspace app to meditate daily and preaches by it to stay positive and focus better.

Another path to a healthier professional life which leads to happiness is often overlooked: being selfless and making the lives of others better. Weiner tells Oprah that he lives by five keys to happiness, which he picked up from his mentor, Ray Chambers:

  • Being in the moment.
  • It's better to be loving than to be right.
  • Become a spectator to your own thoughts, especially when you become emotional, which is fundamental to compassion.
  • Be grateful for at least one thing every day; each morning, write down the one thing that you are grateful for from the day before and read it throughout the day.
  • Go out of your way to be of service to others--to help others every chance you get.

Time

As one of the most powerful executives in the tech world, Weiner finds time every day to--no joke, wait for it — do nothing. Sure, he's still one crazy busy dude. But to Weiner, leaving gaps or "buffers" on his calendar to stop being busy and just think (or meditate) is the "single most important productivity tool" he uses. Meetings are outlawed, and Weiner uses that free "thinking" slot to look toward the future and think about the best way to improve the business.

He says that kind of uninterrupted and focused thinking is often used for "questioning assumptions, connecting dots, bouncing ideas off of trusted colleagues, and iterating through multiple scenarios." In other words, all this takes precious time. And that time will only be available if you carve it out for yourself.

He also learned a powerful hack from Steve Jobs, which he practices daily: Start with asking yourself and your team, "If we could only do one thing, what would it be?" Weiner's advice is to focus on doing fewer things, and do those things well.

Unfortunately, that's not how most of us treat our day, is it? Rather than creating a margin to intentionally live out our daily priorities, we often fail by putting too much on our plate, not saying "no" to people who demand our time and attention, and jamming our already-busy schedules with incessant meetings that don't advance our personal or organizational mission.

Love

Love transcends Weiner's professional and personal life. But we hardly ever associate love as a business principle. Weiner clearly admits practicing a noble form of leadership love he calls "managing compassionately" — the type defined as walking a mile in another person's shoes.

This conscious approach to leadership has greatly influenced his career path. Here's Weiner on his LinkedIn Pulse blog:

As the Dalai Lama explains, if you are walking along a trail and come along a person who is being crushed by a boulder, an empathetic reaction would result in you feeling the same sense of crushing suffocation and render you unable to help. The compassionate reaction would put you in the sufferer's shoes, thinking this person must be experiencing horrible pain so you're going to do everything in your power to remove the boulder and alleviate their suffering. Put another way, compassion is a more objective form of empathy. This idea of seeing things clearly through another person's perspective can be invaluable when it comes to relating with others, particularly in tense work situations.

Weiner's conclusion: It is better to go through the world as a compassionate person, able to confront the plights of others without being crippled by their weight. And it is better to lead with compassion, not empathy.

Weiner also acknowledges the love between he and his wife. In a raw and authentic interview with Oprah Winfrey, he says the work he did to transform himself from a very intense and driven leader who put everything he had into his work to the leader he is today has a lot to do with meeting his amazing wife.

Things like being happy, compassionate, and kind; being able to connect and share with someone; having a semblance of balance in life were all foreign concepts to him before meeting his wife, Lisette. He says her influence on him was a game-changer. Having learned the lessons that made him a better person for his wife, he recognized that "those were qualities that one should be pursuing regardless of any relationship."

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This article was originally published on Inc.