Oprah Winfrey conducted a refreshing interview with Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, which recently was sold to Microsoft for $26.2 billion. That’s an impressive price, so I was intrigued to learn more about the reasons for LinkedIn’s success.
Weiner said compassionate leadership is one of the driving principles at LinkedIn. He defined compassion as stepping into another person’s shoes and really trying to understand where they are coming from. “Compassion creates connections,” he said.
For many years at SalesLeadership, we’ve taught the power of empathy, which is similar to Weiner’s description of compassion. Empathy is the ability to walk a mile in another person’s shoes and see the world from their perspective.
How can we possibly think we can influence other people unless we work at and care about seeing their view of the world?
Oprah asked Weiner a great question: “How can you apply compassion if you need to fire someone or move them from their current role?” His response was brilliant. “It’s not compassionate to leave someone in a role where they are failing. They lose confidence, the team knows they aren’t succeeding and the individual takes that self-doubt home, which affects his or her personal life. The compassionate thing is to have the truth-telling conversation and determine the right course of action for this individual.”
Weiner said that in his 20 years of leadership, he never has had an employee come to him and say they couldn’t get the job done. After all, employees are supposed to aspire to a career path full of promotions and next steps. Weiner said success comes when you marry passion with skills. Perhaps the next step up the corporate ladder isn’t the right step. Great advice.
If you’ve been in a management or leadership role long enough, you’ve experienced an employee that’s just not cutting it in a new position. It’s tough to hold the necessary conversation with such employees, so many leaders avoid doing so.
However, when you practice compassion and empathy, it changes the view.
What individual wants to keep showing up at a job they aren’t succeeding at or enjoying? This week, examine the conversations you aren’t having and need to have. Then, schedule the meeting with the right intent and approach.
Organizations are putting plans and strategies in place for 2017. Perhaps your best strategy is compassionate leadership. It seems to have served LinkedIn well.