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This Overlooked Character Trait Is Key to Business Success

Humility is required to see your own limitations--and learn how to drive past them


For years, corporate cultures have highly valued two traits: intelligence and self-esteem. If you’re intelligent, you can learn complicated skills quickly, a must in a rapidly changing world. And self-esteem gives you the confidence to put yourself forward as a leader.

Well, it happens that there’s a character trait that’s far more important to success than either IQ or self-esteem. Moreover, it’s a character trait that never makes it into books about leadership and management. That trait? Humility.

As the BBC recently pointed out, Socrates (known to history as the wisest man who ever lived) valued humility above all other character traits. And scientific evidence has been accumulating that suggests Socrates was dead right.

For example, a study recently conducted at Brigham Young University had students rate other students’ relative level of humility versus self-esteem, based on questions like: “This person actively seeks feedback, even if it is critical.” As the BBC points out:

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