Hungry, Humble, and Smart: The Three Pillars of Leadership

Hungry, Humble, and Smart: The Three Pillars of Leadership

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of modern business, effective leadership has become a linchpin for success. Jamie Carroll, Principal of Rockwood Advisement Group, understands this dynamic landscape intimately. With a wealth of experience and insights garnered from his extensive career, Jamie has become a trusted authority on leadership and organizational development. Rockwood Advisement Group, under his guidance, specializes in helping companies scale and reach their full potential. 

Recently Jamie sat down with host, Justin Starird on The Inspectations Podcast, powered by The Aebli Group, to discuss the evolution of leadership in today's business landscape, exploring how he believes Patrick Lencioni's three pillars of leadership – hungry, humble, and smart – play a pivotal role in shaping successful businesses.



Leadership has undergone a profound transformation in today's rapidly changing business landscape. The traditional top-down, authoritarian style of leadership is making way for a more people-centric and adaptive approach. This evolution is driven by the recognition that successful leaders possess specific qualities that set them apart and enable them to navigate the uncertainties of the contemporary business world.

These core qualities can be distilled into three pillars: hungry, humble, and smart. In this blog, we will dive into these pillars, exploring their significance and discover ways in which they can be cultivated to become the cornerstone of effective leadership.


The Hungry Leader

Hungry, in this context, doesn't refer to a leader's appetite for success alone but rather their unwavering commitment to the mission and vision of their organization. A hungry leader is driven by a deep sense of purpose, not merely personal gain. They are the driving force behind the team's motivation, pushing everyone towards the common goal.


Cultivating Hunger

  • Set a Compelling Vision: A hungry leader must first define a clear and compelling vision that ignites the passion of the team. A well-articulated vision gives purpose to every action and decision.

  • Continuous Learning: Stay curious and hungry for knowledge. Invest in personal and professional growth to stay ahead in a rapidly changing world.

  • Lead by Example: Showcase your commitment and work ethic, demonstrating your hunger for success. Your dedication will inspire others to follow suit.


The Humble Leader

Humility is often undervalued but is an essential trait of effective leadership. A humble leader recognizes that success is a collective effort, and they are not the sole architects of victory. They prioritize the needs and contributions of their team over their own ego.

Cultivating Humility

  • Listen Actively: Practice active listening to understand the perspectives and ideas of your team members genuinely. Encourage open communication and feedback.

  • Admit Mistakes: A humble leader is unafraid to admit when they are wrong. Owning up to mistakes fosters trust and accountability within the team.

  • Give Credit: Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and contributions of your team publicly. Share the limelight, and your team will respect and trust you more.


The Smart Leader

Being smart in this context does not solely refer to intellectual prowess but encompasses emotional intelligence and the ability to understand and connect with people. A smart leader possesses a high level of interpersonal skills and knows how to navigate diverse personalities.

Cultivating Smartness

  • Emotional Intelligence: Invest in developing emotional intelligence. Understand your emotions and those of your team members to build stronger relationships and resolve conflicts effectively.

  • Adaptability: Smart leaders can adapt to various situations and communicate in a way that resonates with different team members. Flexibility and adaptability are key here.

  • Build Relationships: Networking and building relationships within and outside your organization can provide valuable insights and resources. Smart leaders know the value of a strong network.


The Synergy of the Three Pillars

What makes these three qualities so powerful is their synergy. A leader who combines hunger, humility, and smartness can inspire their team, foster a culture of trust and collaboration, and navigate complex challenges effectively. These qualities are not isolated but interdependent.

A hungry leader with no humility might achieve success at the expense of team morale. A humble leader lacking in smarts may struggle with effective communication. A smart leader without hunger might lack the drive to push boundaries.

By embracing all three pillars, a leader can create a harmonious balance that propels their team and organization toward excellence and cultivates a culture where every team member feels valued, inspired, and aligned with the mission.

Hungry, humble, and smart is a timeless reminder that leadership isn't just about strategies and tactics; it's about the core qualities that define who you are as a leader.

Cultivating these qualities is an ongoing journey, and it requires self-awareness and dedication. As you progress in your leadership role, remember that success isn't solely about personal achievements but about how you inspire and empower others to achieve greatness together.

Hungry, humble, and smart— three pillars that can elevate your leadership from ordinary to extraordinary. To hear even more from Jamie on ways in which to elevate your leadership listen to, “The Evolution of Leadership in Modern Business”, live on The Inspectations Podcast now!

Justin Starbird

About the Author: Justin Starbird I have been fortunate to have had several entrepreneurs that came before me take the time to “pull back the curtains” and allow me to be a part of their multi-million dollar companies… and actually value my input. They allowed me to see their mistakes and learn from their real-world lessons so that I wouldn’t have to pay the expensive costs of experience on my own. Additionally, they taught me what really works and the importance of action - not just ideas.

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