Rangers were refused permission to talk to McInnes regarding the Ibrox vacancy earlier this week.
McLeish - who at one point surpassed McInnes as bookies favourite to land the Rangers position - also played for Aberdeen, who blocked an approach from Ibrox earlier this week.
STV reported on Tuesday that McInnes, along with his assistant Tony Docherty, missed Aberdeen's training session on Wednesday and will not attend a scheduled press conference later today, according to the Scottish Sun.
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether Rangers are close to making a breakthrough in their pursuit of the 46-year-old.
And asked whether he agreed with his former Aberdeen teammate Willie Miller - who told BBC Sport on Wednesday that the Dons should not stand in McInnes' way should he wish to talk to Rangers - McLeish concurred.
"Of course, it's the modern day," said the 58-year-old. "You can't stop people going and speaking to other clubs. It's going to happen, you know that's going to happen at some stage. And Aberdeen will have to make a compromise."
Rangers' last manager, Pedro Caixinha, lasted only seven months at Ibrox, and asked whether McInnes would be better off at Aberdeen, who remain in a stable position, McLeish added: "It's not a level playing field, let's get that right.
"Rangers are way behind Celtic and they've got a lot of catching up to do. Derek - or the next manager - needs to be given time should he join Rangers. It's easy just to sack him after a few bad results but that's life at Celtic and Rangers. They're unique teams in the world."