A Novice’s Journey: Providing is Not Serving

During a recent workshop with an amazing group of dentists, I was struck by how similar our “leadership” challenges are. They are so busy serving their patients everyday that they search for the moments that they can lead their teams and help them grow.

As leaders of our respective organizations, we are must generate the revenue that allows us to continue to do our work. There is something noble in recognizing our roles as servant-leaders to “make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.” Our team members count on their salaries to provide for themselves and their families. That is a weighty responsibility, especially when we convince ourselves that it’s a responsibility we bear on our own.

A light went on for me after spending time with these dentists. I have been prioritizing the provider role over the servant-leader role and that had to stop. The provider has positive intentions but will rarely lead a team to extraordinary outcomes.

Here are some personal reflections on how the roles are different.


The Provider


The Servant -Leader
holds all the responsibility. shares responsibility.
creates the plan. co-creates the plan.
assigns tasks. supports the team as they do their work.
corrects. coaches.
produces outcomes. guides growth.

The provider and the servant-leader come from a common place of care and compassion. The difference comes from what we do with that orientation

Are you committed to the servant-leader journey? Have you unintentionally been playing the provider role? Join me by starting to share responsibility.


With you on this journey,








by Pat Falotico

Chief Executive Officer

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1. Robert K. Greenleaf, The Servant as Leader

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