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The Equation That Will Improve Your Employee Engagement And More

Written by: Tara Sutorius, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


A healthy organizational culture has never been more important than it is right now. The last two years of remote and hybrid work have impacted relationships at a fundamental level; some have improved with the sharing of deep human experiences, while others have suffered from the lack of human connection. Now, more than ever, leaders have an opportunity to strengthen employee engagement and, in turn, improve the experience for their organization’s end customers. How? By understanding the importance of building trusting and psychologically safe environments for their individual contributors and teams.

trust equation

There are many models on trust available out there, but the one many customer-centric organizations are embracing comes from the book “The Trusted Advisor”. According to best-selling author and one of the world’s leading authorities on management and leadership, David Maister, there are four dimensions that form trustworthiness:

1. Credibility: demonstrated with words

  • Do I know what I’m talking about?

  • Do you believe I know what I’m talking about?

2.Reliability: demonstrated with actions

  • Do I do what I say I will do?

  • Do you feel you can count on me?

3. Intimacy: demonstrated with emotions and human connection

  • Do I create close, open & accepting relationships?

  • Do you feel comfortable talking to me about difficult topics?

4. Self-Orientation: relates to personal intentions

  • Am I concerned with the greater good?

  • Or do you think I will just do what is best for me?

When leaders are successful at building genuine trust with their employees, team members feel safe to ask for help, explore, experiment, question, and – most importantly – are not afraid to fail. While it takes genuine curiosity, and deep listening to build a lasting and trusting relationship with your employees, it is well worth the time and energy investment. Why? Because no matter where a leader or employee sits in an organization, every single person contributes to that end customer so trust at every level is essential.

If you are leader, ask yourself: “How do psychological safety and trust help me fuel my employees’ spirits?” Get curious, dig deep, and consider the win-win for your organization and your end customer by putting the trust equation into practice. With trust comes psychological safety, and with that comes innovation – and with that well… the sky’s the limit for your end customer.

What will you start tomorrow to role model Maister’s trust equation? Consider the opportunity cost to you, your team, and your organization if you don’t.

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Tara Sutorius, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

As a certified professional coach trained with Erickson International Coaching, Barrett Values Centre and Career Joy, as well as an accredited PCC-level coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF), Tara Sutorius specializes in helping individuals better understand their personal core values so they may live a more purpose-driven life in alignment with what is most important to them in their personal and professional lives.

Tara is also the Director of Corporate Communications at Export Development Canada (EDC) and the founder of “Tara Sutorius Coaching and Wellness” – a coaching company offering compassionate, transformational and values-based personal leadership, career and wellness coaching. Working alongside senior leaders in both the private and public sector for over 20 years, Tara has a keen sense of what is required to be able to connect with one’s personal and professional leadership mission in order to effect meaningful change over the long-term and build greater resiliency both at home and at work.

What Tara loves most about coaching is helping guide individuals through powerful questioning and transformational conversations. Her coaching style is compassionate, action-oriented, motivational, connected and intuitive. She can help guide you to better align your values with your dream job, clarify your passions, set clear goals and take greater ownership of your career and overall wellness.



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