Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women

The Little Black Book of SuccessLaws of Leadership for Black Women
Written by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood and Rhonda Joy McLean

The Little Black Book of Success is a #2 Bestseller
on Amazon
in the "Management and Leadership" category!

Nearly 40 percent of black women report that they don’t have other black women who can serve as role models, and there have been no books that specifically focus on black women and leadership—until now. Black women in today’s workforce face unique challenges as they seek to advance their careers. Performing as well as their colleagues is not enough to win leadership positions; they also need a special brand of strength and confidence to rise above the double burden of racism and sexism and tap into their true leadership potential. But where can they turn for advice?

With THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF SUCCESS: Laws of Leadership for Black Women (A One World Hardcover; March 2, 2010)—an engaging and invaluable resource guide for black women at any stage of their professional lives—Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean have pooled almost 100 years of collective wisdom and leadership experience to create the guide they wished they had along their own remarkable career paths.

What these dynamic, successful black female executives show is that the building blocks for success are often right below the surface. As they point out, “although they’re able to get jobs, many of today’s young black women don’t realize they have the potential to move themselves forward. Many black women hold leadership roles in their communities, schools, and churches, but aren’t aware that they can transfer skills from those leadership positions to the workplace. Research indicates that their talents often remain invisible both to the women who possess them and their business managers. But leadership can be taught.”

With THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF SUCCESS, you will learn how to:

• Use your duality to build strength—turn the lessons learned from the double burden of racism and sexism to your advantage

• Distinguish between “church values” and “business values”—adapt your spiritual values to business ethics without selling your soul

• Consider yourself a VIP—cultivate high self-esteem and self-leadership to maximize your potential

• Stay Positive—use your well-honed tools of affirmation to change the way you think and to develop a leader’s mental attitude

• Control and learn from your emotions—don’t let others get in the way of what you want

• Communicate like a leader—develop critical superb verbal and written communication skills

• Use the “N” word: Networking—and be sure to network outside your comfort zone

• Reach back and bring others along—when given the chance, offer a helping hand

Some leaders are born, but most leaders are made—and THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF SUCCESS will help black women at all professional levels realize their leadership potential, whether their goal is a promotion or a seat at the table in the C-suite.

Chapter 1-The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women

Always Consider Yourself a VIP

Many of you are already active in the workplace or will soon be entering workforces all over the world - in privately held corporations, large foundations, small not-for-profit organizations, advocacy groups, government positions, or other jobs right in your neighborhood - and yet, you may not know a very important secret: There is a leader inside each of you just waiting to come out! All you need to do is develop and hone the skills that will help the leader in you to surface and shine. Leaders are not only born, they can also be created.

Even if you have never held a leadership position and were told that you did not have “leadership potential” as you were growing up, you can learn what it takes to be a leader right now. Like math, science, and languages, leadership can be learned because it requires skill sets that can be taught. And since you are clearly capable of learning, the path to leadership is one you can always pursue. However, along the path to leadership success, you will have to refuse to give in to negative thinking that can hold you back. Too often brilliant and beautiful young women of color sabotage themselves, sometimes without even knowing that they are doing it, so that they never become the leaders they are capable of becoming or achieve the level of leadership success they deserve.

The most critical aspect of leadership is self-esteem, which must flow from the core of your being. In order to become a leader and remain an effective one, you must always consider yourself a Very Important Person (VIP). This doesn’t mean that you should be arrogant or cocky and walk into your job believing that you already know everything you need to know. Instead, it means that you need to feel confident that you are bringing much value to any workplace and that your cultural strengths, values, and work ethic will stand you in good stead as you go about learning how to do your job, and that you will be successful despite any challenges you may face, whether they are small or large.

How you feel about yourself is imperative to moving forward and sustaining your efforts to meet your leadership goals. Feeling that you’re a VIP, reminding yourself that you’re a VIP, dressing like you’re a VIP, and acting like you’re a VIP (within reason, of course) will help to give you the confidence you need to conquer real and imagined obstacles in your workplace. Rest assured that you can overcome any hurdles you may encounter on your way to becoming a leader - just be prepared and hang on to your hat.


Excerpted from The Little Black Book of Success by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean Copyright © 2010 by Elaine Meryl Brown. Excerpted by permission of One World/Ballantine, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Publisher's Weekly Book Review
The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women
Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy Mclean.
Ballantine/One World, $20 (176p) ISBN 9780345518484

The authors, all high-level black executives, seek to "support women who do not always have access to coaches, mentors, or the ‘Old Boys' Network," andtheir professional advice is savvy and sensitive to the challenges women of color face in the workplace. They offer self-affirming advice to rev up a career, complete with "MAMAisms"-what the authors describe as aphorisms and "familiar terms, both practical and spiritual, that we grew up with and can draw upon as we travel the road to leadership success."

The authors revisit and refresh familiar tips on staying positive, honing skill sets, having a plan of action and following through, networking, and avoiding common workplace dilemmas. They also provide valuable advice on achieving work/life balance and finding guidance, mentorship, and support. Offering sound advice, practical tools, and warm wisdom, this book will help black professional women get and stay on track and maximize their abilities. (Mar.)

Read More Excerpts from The Little Black Book of Success


About Elaine Meryl Brown
Elaine Meryl Brown, former VP, Creative Services at HBO, is an Emmy® Award-winning writer and producer who has won numerous awards in the broadcast industry. In 2007, Brown was chosen as one of The Network Journal's "25 Influential Black Women in Business." A favorite of Black Enterprise, she was featured in the magazine and at their Women of Power Summit. A Wheaton College Alumni Trustee and member of the Coalition of 100 Black Women (Bergen/Passaic Chapter), Brown is also the author of two novels published by One World. She lives in New Jersey. For more information on Elaine visit

About Rhonda Joy McLean
Rhonda Joy McLean is deputy general counsel of Time Inc. and the former assistant regional director of the Northeast Region of the Federal Trade Commission. She has worked as a corporate litigator in a major New York law firm and taught administrative law at the City University of New York. She lives in New York City.

About Marsha Haygood
Marsha Haygood is the president and founder of StepWise Associates, LLC, a career and personal development consultancy. She was formerly the executive vice president of human resources and administration at New Line Cinema and Orion Pictures. She lives in New York and Florida.

(Photo Credit: © Gerald Peart)

Book: The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women
by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, and Rhonda Joy McLean
Foreword by Essence® Magazine editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray

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