Is humility a trait that should be developed in business? What skills does it afford the effective manager?
In 1676, Sir Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" in a letter to Robert Hooke a fellow scientist and mathematician. I think that this is a really amazing statement in which he is attributing his successes not just to himself and his intellect, but to those around him who have provided help and support. It shows a great degree of humility.
Humility is about respecting others, for if you don't respect others how can you expect them to respect you? It is at the other end of the spectrum from character traits such as aggressiveness, arrogance, self-absorption. Many organisations covertly develop and promote these latter skills believing that they will benefit the business, but do they are we really "seeing" as far as we could be? If we surround ourselves with people who primarily do not represent a threat to us, we do not develop and grow ourselves, because our ideas are not challenged and honed. Choosing work colleagues who do not provide complementary and additional talents to our own reduces the future development and current effectiveness of the organisation, and ultimately reduces our ability to delegate tasks and activities. Standing on the shoulders of pygmies doesn't have quite the same ring to it!
Humility is about being confident in your strengths and talents, but recognising the limitations of those abilities. Humility reduces conflict and minimises disputes, and builds teams rather than cliques. Ultimately, it defines the wise leader rather than the self-focused empire builder.