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Jeff Weiner: Leading with Compassion

2018-09-03 | 🔗

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner discusses his spiritual evolution, what it means to lead with compassion while finding meaning in your work, and his unique approach to running a multi-billion dollar tech company. With nearly 500 million members, LinkedIn operates the world's largest professional networking website. Jeff stresses the importance of being clear about your vision and dreaming big. He explains how implementing core values from the top down has given his company “an incredible competitive advantage.” Jeff also talks about what his life was like before meeting his wife, Lisette, and explains why it was a pivotal moment for him.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Subscribe now in this in free, go to apple pie, cast out com, slash operas master class, I'm over Winfrey welcome to supersede conversations the pod cast. I believe that one of the most valuable gives you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully impressed. Your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us starts right now, for many of us, most of our waking hours are spent working Imagine if your job or your company became a more compassionate and mindful place to work not every day we turned to see, owes where this kind of guidance but linked end Jeff Wiener, is a super, so kind of executive linked in is the world's largest professional networking site. Their mission is to connect companies with millions in the global workforce. I believed that Jeff's vision for leading
Nearly ten thousand employees with intention purpose and compassion can change the way we all live and work together. The thing that impresses me the most about our guest today I was impressed before I learned this, but I wanted you on the show originally, because you know We spend a lot of time talking about spirituality and what it means in the world. And for me it's not just understanding what it means, but being able to apply that in your own life, and I thought that you are one of the great He owes a bar time. That's was my personal opinion and that's why I wanted to sit down and talk to you about your ideas on compassionate leadership, so in doing
research for the show I came across these debts from glass door, dot com. They did. A survey of sea owes in the United States and you receive the highest rating with a one hundred percent approval rating, which means they are serving employs: employees anonymously and asked them about work life balance about pay about how the sea over the company actually leads. The company and one hundred percent of the people who were interviewed and responded said you were terrific gosh I mean how does it happen? that does not happen by accident. I think it's as much a testament to the company in our leadership team is. It is anything else we try to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. We try to lead compassionately, we're trying to.
An act with folks. We try to put ourselves in the shoes of others and understand what they are going through at their experiencing. In those things, make it that's when you can forge that kind of a connection within a work environment. You know, that's not certainly the norm. Ryan. I think people appreciate that. I know you once fortune magazine the values of the first principles you used to make dated eight decisions. So what are some of those poor values, so We have six core values linked, and so the first is that our members come first second is relationships matter which makes a lot of sense, given that, where social platform within a professional context, the third is to be open, honest and constructive, not just two manifest transparency and not just to be open, because that can create a lot of conflict in conference so when we encouraging people to be open about. What's on their minds, were encouraging them to do so in a constructive way that lifts the dialogue list, people up round, tear them down, We demand excellence? We won make sure that
achieving results, if not exceeding our own expectations. We expect people ACT like owners, we think that's really important file and we want. Are our team take intelligent risks, so six core values are coming, everybody knows that- and this comes back to this idea of not just talking to talk but walking back, and I think a lot of companies and a lot of leadership make the mistake of going up, on stage and rolling out these values and rolling out sure of an organization and people in the audience are hearing it, recognising that that's not how team gains, talk that, but that's not how you treat me and there's no. Either way and that's not what I feel really that's exactly right and when it comes the court when it comes to value when it comes to reinforcing the stuff, it begins with the leadership and then it extends to how
val being your talent, how you're evaluating performance and just constantly reinforcing that? Yes, and when you can do that, it can become an incredible competitive advantage. Will you didn't always have this right? You didn't always have it go tell you why? Because there was an article about you about your evolution that Fgm magazine did a while back and then described as someone who quote we'll. Did your fears, intelligence, like a blunt instrument and when you read that- felt what I think when I was a younger executive. I had a tendency to make the same mistake that a lot of inexperienced executives make which is projecting onto your team. The way you do things and expecting them to do things. The way you do and when there's any kind of dissonant. When someone is not doing things the way you expect them to be done. You can get frustrated and you express that frustration and it's a mistake in what form?
effective is too, and this in part is we're. Managing compassionately comes from it is to get out of your own head too, denies that not everyone has the same strengths to recognise that you understand what motivates somebody what they're good at wait where they, Challenges what their fearful of you can get the most out of that person and it as through interaction. I had with my own manager, where I was expressing to that person that I felt they were managing compassionately that I realized I was actually doing exactly Amazon. Tell me that I think this is good. This a good story, you're in a meeting and somebody's being a jerk and constantly being passiveaggressive yeah. We would get together a team of leaders as part of the staff meeting, this individual, and there was a colleague of mine, a member of this person's team, who is very effective in their role, but they were doing the job the way.
Our manager wanted them to do the job yet, and so it would frustrate them to no end and they were Make jokes of this person's expense they undermine them in front of the team- and I remember thinking this is not. For the individual wasn't good for my boss, it wasn't good for us as a team, so we would I have one on one's every now and again, and I said: hey I've gotta, give you some feedback. I said the next time you feel like making a joke this person's expense, or you get frustrated and lead now in front of all of us. You should go, find a mirror and express that frustration to yourself well, because you're the reason there in the role and if you don't the weather doing their job take time to catch them and, if you're not capable of doing the job you the way you leave. They should be able to do the job, find another role for them and if that's not gonna, work out then trend. Mission them, and do it in a way that compassionate constructive urban couple weeks later, we reconvened, and he said I have to thank you for your advice. She saying
I realized I was doing the exact same thing. Someone on my team, the exact same thing, and so in that moment I kind of avowed that, as long as I was gonna, be responsible for managing other people, I was going who aspire to manage compassionately where I wasn't necessarily trying to have them do things the way I did them, but I was put myself and their shoes understanding what motive did them their hopes, their dreams, their fears and try to to lead as effectively as possible. So compassionate leadership is really like getting to the heart and soul of what a company real. Is. Compassionate leadership begins with the connection between individuals and a company is comprised the people. That's all it is So when you are building upon a foundation of compassionate management, ultimately what the companies about its vision, its mission, its culture, its values, all of that stuff is manifest.
Stood in the way that its leadership is leading the way the managers are managing so regarding yes managing compassionately. Comes a bedrock of an orientation. Is that your spiritual practice? It's part of my spiritual practice, I think when you talk about spiritual practice, I think about my fulness. I think about self awareness being in a moment as it pertains to me. When I think about how that extends to other people through the way I can act and and practising compassion, I'll go anywhere more to come after this short break these episode is supported by hallmark cards. We say I love you too, the people we care about all the time, so much so that sometimes it can start to feel a little bit like a habit if you're king for a way to make those three little words mean a little more this Valentine's day. Try, sir them with a hallmark card.
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I always believed that everything starts with your whole. Life actually starts with you and it starts with your ability to be the most you. You can be the more authentic you can be, the more actual real power you have in the world. So in order to be a good leader person, foremost, you ve gotta be able to do that. For yourself. What is a work? You did two trends, warm yourself, so some of it was left work and more, very good fortune in me, my wife yeah, so that was a complete game. Changer so I buy lacked any semblance of balance before met my wife put everything I had into work and I'm getting the job done I was very intense and it was not an optimal way to you were a blunt for z. I guess that's one way for its, not just with regard to management, and me I looked back on that part of my life and just with regard
being happy just with regard, understanding what it was. I was true complex or achieving yeah. But I ask recognized at least had the awareness to recognise that if I maintain that path for five more years ten more years, I might be successful through conventional, no definition of success, but I wasn't gonna be happy. I knew that I have the wherewithal to understand that. Why were you when you knew that I was thirty three and the reason I know that is because was a year before my wife and meeting was that thin did? What I mean where to begin so that you know, has a very different perspective. I know less and she's quite extraordinary. And she started to emphasise things that I was not nearly focused enough on she. I mean simple to you and and myself now these are kind of a fundamental, but being happy being kind, be I mean these were
not things. I was spending a lot of energy thinking about or manifesting you know, just being with her having that kind of relationship being so. Of the someone being able to connect with someone. Being able to share with someone it's it's a complete game, changer napkins, a foundation that you can start to do the kind of work that I think you're asking about. And so that began you know, for lack of their term adjourning The meeting was that, if I'm getting this correct, this is really good. Actually, it's fired, this transformation you wanted to be a better person. After being with us, like the Jerry Maguire assist, you wanted to be a better person yeah for ourselves for her and for your company first for her, yet
I want to be better for her and then the more your practicing that the more you recognize, those with those qualities that one should be pursued regardless of any lately, I just want to say Jeff and I become friends, because I believe that We had dinner here the other night and you toasted, all the friends at the table and after the toaster LISA, I thought I was going to start falling in my soup literally. When you were talking till he said, because I was looking at her face. Looking at you, I cry right now. And we were talking about exactly what some of what you're sharing here with us now about the meaning that age that she brought your life it is really special in Iraq. Is a spiritual partnership undoubtedly incredibly appreciate for air and so to your point earlier being with her major, more compassionate, oh yeah, it made me more
enacted. It made me more mindful: that's where that that really began. At least the practice of I started. Understanding compassion is a concept several years, priors price, I'm thirty, I wrote a book called the art of happiness in dialogue and Dalai Lama's practices in keys to happiness, and he talks about compassion, indifference to empathy and compassion, and that's where I start to learn more about. Oh there's hierarchy of needs, I think, are absolutely essential to be able to practise things like compassion and mindfulness. There are the basic bill, blocks had so many of us have a tendency to completely overlooked getting a good night's sleep eating properly in working out, a new start, building up from their yeah. That's what I want to talk about. You transformed yourself and then use that transformation to leave your company forward, I may I hadn't thought about it in those terms with regard to leading the company, I would draw up on my own experience the things that I went through, where
I was being managed that the folks that were leading companies I was in, and I always try to pay very close attention to what resonated it was working, what wasn't working and in I know it come over cliche at this point, but the most valuable lessons I've ever learned are: what not to do the truth. Is is, this is sometimes your face with difficult decisions and one of the Things that you say is that one of the biggest mistakes that managers make is leaving people impositions that there are no longer suited for so compassion sometime is being able to transition somebody, even if it means transitioning them out of the company correct, exactly right, yeah. So the most important So I learned in the role of CEO is to not the picture in the game for to love that oh, it's a sportsman afford going so far as well, How can a baseball game sometimes you'll see a star pitcher on the mound, we're having a game and as the the game continues to to go on, you can see there
I'm starting tire and you can see the opposing team started, hit the ball little bit harder. But only the manager comes out of the Annabelle pen or out of the dugout, rather will say how you doing and those star pitchers always will reply. I'm doing fine sit down, we anyhow I get this done. I got this because nobody is ever going to say I don't got it if you want to keep your job right twenty years of managing people. Not once has anyone ever come to me and said they couldn't do their job, not a single time. It's their job as the role the manager and so to your point about compassion, the often asked question I get with regard to managing compassionately is what to do in exactly the situation, because people just assume compassion means not making hard decisions, not making hard choices. Not transit people out of roles and it's the exact opposite. The least compassionate thing you can do when someone is not equipped to be doing what there is to leave them in that role. And all you need to do, is watch and observe that person and you'll understand how
little compassion is being shown to that individual because of the body, language, the something of the shoulders of the fact that their their voice there, action, start losing barbarians, they lose confidence in those non self esteem. By the day there taken back to their teams, people are you're leaving them in the role which is undermining your ability to lead in the worst of all. Is that individual that no longer believes in themselves that's losing their sense of self. They take that energy home taking that energy home to their family. They also then build up resentment towards. U turns everybody else around ages to compounded products. A vicious cycle in every front in the most compassionate thing you can do in that situation is take up her set aside and say this isn't working out right now. Here's where the bar said I'm gonna do everything I can to get you to the bar or above the bar, and we're going to set a timetable.
Let you go, but it first if that persons in the roll, there's pie, reason you put them in that role, so that there may be the potential for them to be able to take coaching and learn how to do the job more effectively. It's a question of how much time you gonna give them and how much work here put in ok, so how do you fire compassionately? It starts with conviction that it's the right thing to do, and I can't tell you the number of times that that situation, her and the manager whose conveying the bad news whether to firing or something else, is looking their shoes there look away in the matter, did your sending the person on the receiving end is. This is not the right thing to be doing and the person that's receiving the bad news is looking for every conceivable excuse to challenge the decision, so it starts with conviction. Will you have to know it's the right thing to do beyond a shadow of a doubt? And if you don't
you better take the time to get there before you step in a room with a person? Yes now, and I know that you think that mines Listen compassion at work is not just a new approach for trend, nation, but they really are necessary in today's world, all about people, know the raw materials of the vast vast majority of companies. Today its people- and An organization is only gonna, be as good as its talent, and you want we get the most out of people want to facilitate the way which people are expressing ideas. It benefits the entire ecosystem in part of what works. For this is that you release control and empowering employees to do what they can do best correct the absolute and you know that there are so many people in positions of leadership bosses Who cannot relinquish or released the control wiser? most organizations traditionally are based on hierarchical structures. Yeah- and you have some of the top and not so on top
is not necessarily leading the way I would define leading their their managing to me. There is a fundamental difference, so management is telling somebody what to do leadership is inspiring them to do it. Yeah. An inspiration for me comes from three areas: three three places its clarity, ones, vision, the courage of one's conviction and the ability to effectively communicate. Both of them an historically I'm, not sure that organizations took the time to cultivate and develop. Those pray This is it was more about this. Is the objective you're going to get this done and that's not the way to get the most out of ok? This is great when everything is going well when you're on top in the stocks are soaring and you're on the cover of all the magazines in a and every company at some point hits a low spot. What happens when you hit a low patch?
first of all, that's absolutely right. It is inevitable and the great companies are those that figure out. Go above that wall around that Waller through how that's how you build something ass, I tell you build something great overtime and so to your point about it's, it's easy to manage compassionately when things are going well, but it's also easy to manage compassionately when you're, like the people that you're working with, and so that's another of the most frequent yeah good? How do you manage? Actually, when you don't like the person and my response, there that compassion is not conditional. It matters the most when you don't have a natural connection with the person and that's why most of us have spire to manage compassionately, because that's challenging to do so and when circumstance These are challenging when come he's going through difficult times. You need, make sure that you are there for the people who have an experience that before particularly more junior members of the game, like what's going on and I we be able to play through this and that's when compassion matters the most so
we talk a lot about this show about ego, an ego as you know, plays a whole big role all of our lives and especially at work, so you said that our ego makes it difficult to see a situation to another person's lenses. Is it actually possible to have your ego and still leave with compassion, or you always having to put your ego down, inordinately Compassion definitely possible. The mistake I think some people make is confusing ego centralism with Euro maniacal. That's right, yeah! That's exactly right, because we aren't eagle seat centric you got here. By nature. We are all egocentric, we all see the world through the lens and helps us survive. Yes, when gets taken to an end state when that gets taken to an extreme and it becomes all about us, you know you're coming maniacal call you become narcissistic, and you fail to see the world through other people's perspectives. So
active, managing compassionately is just becoming a spectator to your own thoughts becoming a spectator to your own. You of the world, put yourself in the other person shoes to understand what they are going through their experiencing, what motivates them and You can still having ego while you do that, but it does require you to step outside of it How do you handle because, as we know, Success comes with even greater power and influence. So how do you handle the ego traps and the power traps had come with running a multi billion dollar company? I mean really there and make sure your experience. Failure and if that doesn't humbly ya know what is what's gonna humble you. So when you have those kinds of experiences you realize? at times fleeting tat can be at least traditional measures of success. You realize to some extent how beyond
your control, it is an you, invest less in it terms are the way to find yourself success terms of achieving objectives in terms of manifesting emission terms of manifesting vision. That's all good, especially If what you can do can create good in the world who that's fantastic but to the extent you start to define yourself, traditional measures of success to the extent that your source of self esteem, you are destined to be unhappy, because you cannot control it. It will be on your control, there's a whole host of things that pay invest themselves and that are beyond their control. There are people that define their sense of self through their physical appearance who were their physical cable. Ladys and the ravages of age will take care of that. There are people that define their sense of self through their titles. Their role within an organisation that may not lack of those that define their sense of self through.
Our socio economic status or wealth. We live in volatile times, the one thing, at least for me that I believe is sustainable in terms of where you derive happiness and your your self esteem is the way you treat other people that you can control known can take that away from you. How do you define success than for me? I have a personal view statement, it's true north in the dream is there to inspire and for me it's to expand the world's collective wisdom and compassion. So the more I can manifest that I think that's one source of happiness. My family are tremendous source of happiness being good. Other people mean loving and compassion
what are the things I love you have your own matrix for the kind of person you want to work with and its three thing. Yes, the kind of person who people who dream big get done and know how to have fun. I don't think you can say get stuff dotted. So one of the things that I think that has propelled due to be this transformative leader is that you learned how to embrace re chamber principles of happiness. So first tell everybody. Re chambers, friend, yours yeah, raise a mentor and want to most extraordinary people. I know and re revolutionized the idea of leverage by out on Wall Street and the Ladys had incredible success and around Seven, he decided give it all up and we want to pursue happiness and in his breast of happiness and spending time with full,
The furs of buddhist monks, one of the things you can Who was that he needed to be of service to others? so he began a life of extraordinary philanthropy and why the conclusion He came to us that there are five keys to happiness, the first it has been in the moment. The second is that it's better to be loving and to be right. The third is that you should be a spectator, but your own thoughts, especially when you become emotional, which is fundamental to compassion. The fourth is to be grateful for please one thing every day and the fifth is to be of service to others to help others some intervention gap. Are you a spectator to your own thoughts? I try that's one of the most important building blocks towards managing compassionate. Why is it wise? Because that's that's kind of the fall of compassion. Is when you get to caught up in your own fault too, caught up in your own emotions. You know take it that traditional works
send there's gonna, be all kinds of arguments in debates and frustrations that are expressed in it not moment. You need to step outside of yourself and understand what exactly is going on. Triggering you watch triggering the other person, there's a whole litany of reasons they may be acting away, their acting, and in order to get down to that, you have to step outside of yourself. You have to step outside of your own frustration, your own anger and in those moments you can get the clarity to understand. What's going on in its complete game changer in the way you interact with other people, It's, not just in workplaces in life yeah. You know what I'm most excited about a most excited about the next level for you, because where was it, the night he's I do John Cabbage in whose sort of is the founder the mindfulness movement and
how mindfulness is taught in, or multiple schools across the country, in hospitals in prisons and so forth. What I long for is the day that compassion is a part of the curriculum, and I believe you're gonna, be the force does it that's, whether or not and force the goal is to make sure that compassion is taught in every school. Every my country. It is as important as reading its has important math. A friend of mine recently corrected me and said it's me. Fourteen because one for foundation upon which all the other learning should be taking place- and it's it's, how you gonna change humanity yeah. Once people understand the definition of compassion, I think they begin to manifested and it's hard not to understand it and want to pray
It does just only ultimate spiritual. La literally, it is what every single religion has in common and its loving your brother is yourself or seeing your brother as yourself at all about can since its all about being more loving, being kind and to your point, it is the foundation upon which virtually all religions and all can you these are based this compassion here and you ve brought them to the workforce while trying to do our part finish your sentence. I believe. I believe in the power of expanding the world's collective wisdom and compassion. And I am most proud of a most proud of the fact I look forward to go and work every day and I look forward to coming home every night said: Jimmie, Dale
I look forward to kidnap believe border comin home. It's amazing, that's great. I move ruined free and you ve been listening to supersede conversations podcast, you can follow superficial on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook if you haven't yet go to apple podcast, unsubscribe rate and review. This podcast join me next week for another supersede conversation. Thank you for listening.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-01.