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The Savvy Business Woman Part 1

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Women have not been taught that work is like playing a game of chess; it requires strategy and calculated moves. Instead, we often see work as an extension of ourselves and become too emotionally involved when decisions are made and we end up on the losing side.{{more}}

This is a call for Caribbean women to begin to ditch the self-defeating behaviours that impede our careers and personal lives. It’s a wake up call for working Caribbean women to realize our full potential and develop the confidence needed to lead top companies in the Caribbean and in the international arena.

Work is not new to the Caribbean woman; many own and have owned businesses that support their families. However, when we look at the role women play in larger organizations, the equation changes drastically. Men occupy the majority of top business leadership positions in the Caribbean for a number of reasons.

1. For decades, women entering the workforce have been conditioned by society to enter helping professions like nursing or teaching. Women who chose to enter the business world occupied secretarial roles or worked as bank tellers, as those were the available options. Even as our society progresses, it’s still not common in the Caribbean to hear teachers or even parents encourage their students and daughters to seek out a leadership role in a top business, so young girls rarely hold these aspirations and role models are few and far between. With no sense of direction, too many young women find themselves distracted by the opposite sex and settle without ever realizing their full career potential.

2. Women face the choice of pursuing a career or starting a family. This is a choice that men do not have to make and so their entire work life could be devoted to building a career. Women on the other hand loose status whenever they pause to raise a family. Does this mean women should abandon the family to make strides at work? Of course not, a woman is not successful if her family suffers while she desperately tries to succeed in business. However, times are changing and it’s becoming common for men to play a more active role in raising the children. Caribbean women must begin to seriously build their skills so when family obligations lessen as children grow older they will be ready to assume the positions they want.

3.Women who even stand a chance of attaining a leadership role often meet opposition from small minded, insecure people (men and women) and we often hamper our own careers by unconscious behaviours that discredit us as serious professionals. Society has conditioned women to think, speak, and act in ways that are detrimental if we are to survive in the business world; it’s time to step out of the box and begin the process of empowering Caribbean women as leaders in the workplace.

n Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to [email protected] Visit online at

www.workplacesuccess.com

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