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Recipe for career success
Nashauna Drummond, Lifestyle Coordinator
Published: Monday | August 17, 2009
Jamaica Gleaner News

     At the first meeting with executive coach Dr Karen Otazo-Hofmeister, you feel as if you could speak with her for days. She practises what she preaches, noting that professionals sabotage their careers by not making a connection with people.

"They don't connect enough with people within and outside of their company. You develop trust through communication. If you keep your head down, no one will notice you."

Another common mistake was not getting along with their bosses. "Learn how to work with your boss, no matter how awful he/she is, until you get a new one."

Also, don't upset too many people and finally, keep your subordinates in mind by being consistent and fair.

Dr Otazo-Hofmeister was the keynote speaker at a forum put on by the Social and Economic Alliance for Development (SEAD) last Friday. SEAD is a non-governmental think-tank of young professionals established to facilitate public participation and debate social issues. It also formulates practical solutions to problems we identify in our communities. Through its Facebook group, interested persons invest (financial or human resources) in the solution or change. Entitled 'Invest In Solutions: Leadership and Responsibility', the forum focused on how managers can take control of their careers in an ever-changing world, and how to motivate their staff during times of economic adversity.

Executive coach

Dr Otazo-Hofmeister has been an executive coach for more than 20 years. She is also a global leadership expert, facilitator and mentor of Vital Voices, a non-governmental organisation initiated by United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Dr Otazo-Hofmeister holds a doctorate in human resources and two degrees in linguistics and languages and the way they affect how we think. "I wanted to speak many languages because I wanted to live all over the world."

Her intentions have paid off. She has lived and worked in England, The Netherlands, France, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India. She speaks English, Spanish, French, Indonesian and Chinese. "Intention is very powerful," she explains. "Create your intentions and things will show up. It's like prayer."

Network, network, network

In 2006 she published her first book, The Truth About Managing Your Career ... And Nothing But. It contained 60 tips about surviving in business. "Your network gets you the power you need to do what you need," she says matter-of-factly.

Dr Otazo-Hofmeister notes that this is especially true for women. "Central thing for women to get ahead is to know enough people who network themselves and can connect you to power. The power rubs off, but don't rely on one mentor.

Networking is also the key to 'recession proof' your career.

Work up your network, connect with more people, not fewer. Think of new ways of doing things in these very difficult economic times.

Look at your skills so you know what you're capable of. All good jobs come through networking.

Make sure you're linked to social networking sites that matter, such as Facebook and Twitter. Keep your name out there."

Leaders are made, not born

In her second book, The Truth About Being A Leader ... And Nothing But, she notes that leaders are made, not born. "Your life experiences shape you." She encourages persons to take on challenges, even small ones, and to live or work in another country for six months to a year. "It changes your work ethic and how you get things done."

She explains that most persons who are put in positions of leadership are at first confused about the type of boss they should be. "They have had good bosses and bad. There is no model of what leadership should look like." She cautions that as leaders you are always 'on'. "Everyone watches you so pay attention to your moods."

So which sex makes the better boss? "Men are better at dealing with the 'nasties' (antibodies) which can be because they play sports, they are able to identify bad players. After a while, women learn to do this but women tend to be cold because that's how they got there (in leadership roles)."

Dealing with stress in a demanding job

1. Don't drink alcohol at night. If you do, make sure you have some protein so it won't keep you up and you will be well rested.

2. Notice the time of the month that is most stressful. At those times, make more time for yourself. Eat well and keep off caffeine.

3. Find things that de-stress you. Take a walk, listen to music (while at work).

4. Practise alternative nostril breathing. This is a yoga technique in which you inhale through one nostril, hold it, and exhale through the next. It really helps de-stress the body.

 
 

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