Advice from the founder of Linkedin for leaders

These are the five cadences that leaders should establish for their organization, according to the founder of Linkedin on

One of the most important jobs of a leader is to set the vision and strategy, and provide a path for others to follow. But there is a not-so-obvious role that the leader plays thereafter.

Once these things are established, people don’t just follow blindly. It requires a pulse, or an ethic that keeps things moving, one that the leader establishes, according to LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

As Hoffman said in a recent episode of his Masters of Scale podcast, “Each leader has to create a drum for his company”. It drives the pace of the company and helps define how employees should follow and act on a day-to-day basis.

I think Hoffman is absolutely right, and it got me thinking.

Leaders set the pace for others to follow in multiple ways, whether they realize it or not. With over three decades of successful leadership experience, I can tell you that these are the five most important cadences leaders establish: Take these times and you’ll be a better leader in no time.

The leader sets the pace and tone for how people in the organization interact with each other. Temperamental leaders who blow up in meetings and berate people regularly or leaders who treat their group as a silo and don’t cooperate with other parts of the organization will produce employees who think it’s okay to do the same.

Leaders who listen carefully, show respect, collaborate openly, and operate with unwavering integrity will also produce imitative behaviors of a much better type. One of the best leaders I worked for greatly influenced the positive tone with which everyone treated each other.

When you are a leader, the way you interact with others is important as you operate in a fish tank, where your movements are observed and magnified.

If you are an indecisive leader who changes your mind, waits to collect data on everything, and regularly undoes past decisions, your people will suffer and will likely be just as indecisive.

Without a rapid but adequately informed pace of decision-making, including a willingness to take risks and sometimes move forward without all the information, an organization will move too slowly. Productivity will decrease and employees will become increasingly frustrated and likely exhausted.

By this I mean how often, in what settings, and to what magnitude does the leader recognize and reward employees for their efforts and results? I have been in organizations where the pace of reward was constant, producing a positive undercurrent that good work is recognized and providing motivational fuel to stimulate discretionary energy expenditure. I’ve also been in the opposite situation, in organizations where recognition was rare and muted when it occurred.

Leaders who recognize and reward produce organizations that recognize and reward. The opposite, even more so, as it creates an unfortunate “one less thing to worry about” mentality.

The leader sets the pace for how work is done in the workplace. Does he or she call a lot of meetings, require a lot of updates, and set a “command and control” tone? Is empowerment modeled or missing? Embrace remote work or forced face time? Is there a lot of rework and wasted effort driven by the leader, or not?

I always tried to establish a rhythm of doing things, letting people flow to work and vice versa, allowing people to do the job they were hired to do. It’s important to keep in mind the workflow rhythm you’re establishing because much of your success (or failure) depends on it. You can have the best vision and strategies in the world, but if your organization is not well-adapted to what needs to be done to achieve it, you will fail.

I don’t mean that this is reactive (versus proactive) in the bad sense of the term. You can’t be proactive or predict everything; An organization must be able to react quickly to changes in the industry, competitive environment, or overall landscape. And no one sets the pace of reactionary time more than the leader.

Being complacent and slow to react to environmental changes can doom a company. When the leader reacts with urgency (to the right things), he sets an important pulse throughout the company that urgency must follow urgency.

So the founder of Linkedin is right, the leader must set the pace of the organization. He acquires these cadences and you will establish a winning rhythm.