Jeff Weiner became CEO of LinkedIn in 2009 and since that time he has earned a reputation for being a competent and well-liked leader.
During a recent sit down with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, as part of a Stanford class called “Technology-enabled blitzscaling,” Weiner explained the best executive lesson he ever learned.
“The most valuable lesson I’ve learned as CEO is don’t leave the pitcher in the game for too long,” Weiner said. “As soon as you ask yourself if someone isn’t the right fit, you already know the answer. The question is, what are you going to do about it? You have to help them get above the bar, and if they can’t, transition them to another role or out of the organization.”
While he is well-known for being a compassionate leader, Weiner admits he has no problem firing someone who isn’t fitting the company’s needs any longer.
“If someone is struggling in a role, the least compassionate thing you can do is to leave them in that role,” Weiner said. “They lose their self-confidence and sense of self. They become a shadow of themself. It affects their team and their family. The most compassionate thing you can do is to transition them out as gracefully as possible.”
In terms of mass layoffs, Weiner says employees often know when they are not meeting company goals and keeping them in the dark about their future with the company is the least compassionate thing you can do for a group of employees.