LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner on developing compassion in the workplace

LinkedIn CEO on compassion in the workplace

For Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, compassion plays a vital role in the workplace. 

"In leadership, in management, it's really become a first principle," he said Friday on "CBS This Morning." "Not only for myself, but for a lot of us at LinkedIn." That approach seems to have paid off — Weiner was just ranked one of the country's top 10 CEO's on Glassdoor, a site where employees rate their companies and management.

One of the most important lessons he's learned about leadership, he said, is "the importance of inspiration." To him, that means having three things: "clarity of vision" when setting goals, "courage of your conviction," and the ability to "effectively communicate" those qualities.  

That Glassdoor ranking is far from Weiner's only achievement. LinkedIn is currently the largest online professional platform in the world, boasting more than 630 million members using it to network and search for new jobs. It also has 20 million job postings and gets 100 million applications each month.

The CEO has partnered with an educational technology company called EVERFI to launch a nonprofit called The Compassion Project. The nonprofit's mission statement, Weiner said, is to "ensure that compassion is taught in every elementary school in the United States, and to ensure that all elementary school students understand the meaning of compassion and can practice it."

Weiner says he teaches compassion by showing students how to put themselves in other peoples' shoes  — "seeing the world through their lens for the sake of helping them and alleviating their suffering."

"At the elementary school level, that's all about seeing the world around you, seeing the people around you, caring about them, and acting upon it," he said. At the grown-up level, there are awards. LinkedIn will soon be announcing the winner of its inaugural Compassion Award, who will receive $100,000 to "accelerate" their initiative to help others.

Weiner also shared his best tip for finding a job: leveraging your network. Leveraging a referral from someone inside the organization, he said, will make you 10 times more likely to get the role.

He recognized, however, that there's a negative side to that story. "Its really important that all of us are conscious of that dynamic," he said. "Because as exciting as that is … there may be other folks who didn't necessarily go to the right school, they haven't had the right jobs, they don't have the right relationships — and we call that the network gap."

"There's a virtuous cycle for people who have the relationships," he added. "There's a vicious cycle for people who have the skills, they have the aptitude, but they don't have the relationships."

To help resolve that, Weiner has encouraged LinkedIn employees to open their networks to people from underrepresented groups — an attempt, he said, "to turn vicious cycles into virtuous cycles."