1st Edition

The Model Black How Black British Leaders Succeed in Organisations and Why It Matters

By Barbara Banda Copyright 2022
    224 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    224 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is for anyone who wants to understand what being more inclusive at work means, especially as it relates to black leaders. It is intended for those people who are saying “I don’t know where to start,” “I don’t know what to do” and “I don’t know what to say” when understanding and talking about race at work. Based on candid interviews with 30 successful black leaders, it peels away the multifaceted layers of black British leaders in organisations to offer a new way of thinking about the black British experience.

    This book provides the insights and ideas required to have positive conversations about race at work and to create work environments where black leaders can thrive. In identifying the attributes and behaviours that successful black leaders have in common, this book offers new ways of thinking about black people at work that help to further inclusion. It shines a light on the daily reality of being a black leader in the workplace, providing an alternative entry point for conversations around inclusion and explores what individuals and organisations can do to increase inclusion in the workplace. Through first-hand stories this book explores the challenges, compromises, struggles and successes that black people encounter, and the range of strategies they employ to achieve success as they navigate the “white” workplace.

    It is essential reading for business leaders in the private, public and third sector, human resources professionals, students, anyone teaching or mentoring black students or leaders and everyone interested in understanding race and furthering inclusion in the workplace.

    Section 1: How We Got Here, 1. Anywhere Except The Meat Counter, 2. Girls Like You, 3. This Is The Queue For Business Class, Section 2: How We Get On, 4. You Fit In Well Here: The Model Black, 5. You Are Not One of the Loud Ones, 6. You Are Not Chippy, 7. You Have Such a Lovely, Welcoming Smile, Section 3: How We Will Get There, 8. Treat Me the Same, Value My Difference, 9. We All Want Equity - Don't We?, 10. Beyond the Model Black?


    Barbara Banda is the founder of the leadership consultancy, BarbaraBandaConsulting, which works with Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies. As Professor of Practice and Educator in Leadership, Inclusive Leadership and Change at Duke Corporate Education, Rotterdam School of Management and Hult Ashridge, she is passionate about connecting leadership education to the realities of daily life in organisations. Barbara holds five degrees, including a D.Phil from the University of Oxford that explored the importance of connecting management education to the workplace, which informs her approach with clients. She is black British of Jamaican heritage.

    "A timely exploration of race in the workplace."

    Financial Times

    "Barbara provides the insights leaders need to have an open and honest dialogue around self-disclosure and what being black – and more importantly a black leader – in the workplace means. It is a must read for both black and white leaders responsible for managing, skilling, reskilling, and hiring talent to improve culture and create a true merit-based workplace."

    Rebecca Henderson, CEO Global Businesses & Executive Board Member, Ranstad

    "This book makes great strides in helping decision-makers think again about the nuances of diversity, equity and inclusion in organisations. It contains practical ideas that provide a springboard for a better understanding of the diverse communities on which global organisations rely for their success."

    Jacky Wright, Chief Digital Officer, Microsoft

    "The Model Black: How Black Leaders Succeed in Organisations and Why It Matters gives a confronting and valuable insight into the experiences of black leaders in modern businesses. It gives a new, enriching perspective on how we can further diversity in companies by keeping an open mind regarding our mindset and attitude towards racial differences. This book therefore offers an accessible framework for rethinking the recruitment, retention and development of a diverse and cosmopolitan workforce."

    Hans Sijbesma, Country President at AstraZeneca

    "Through engaging and authentic storytelling surrounding the British black experience, The Model Black unearths a still underrepresented factor critical to 21st Century leadership: the ability to navigate race productively but unapologetically. This book offers practical frameworks for managing this complex task for both black and non-black-ally leaders. The result is a compelling, accessible, and uplifting guide to confronting one of the most pressing needs of our age: rehumanizing our organizations."

    Michael Chavez, Global Managing Director, Duke Corporate Education and co-author of Rehumanizing Leadership: Putting Purpose Back into Business

    "Barbara has brilliantly articulated the real challenges that black professionals face in the British workforce every day. This book provides welcome relief and useful coping mechanisms for black leaders alongside new, invaluable insight for white leaders. There is a pragmatism and an optimism about this book that make it an engaging read with the clear purpose of moving us forward as professionals and also as a society. A must-read for leaders serious about creating a diverse and inclusive workplace."

    Bridget Lea, Managing Director of Commercial, BT

    "This book possesses an honesty and a nuanced approach to the subject matter that is refreshing. Barbara has used the lived experiences of her interviewees to develop helpful frameworks. The entire book has an authentic tone that supports its practical call to action. This is a great piece of research that invoked frustration, concern and a desire to bring about change."

    Naomi Dickson, CEO Jewish Women’s Aid

    "Barbara refuses to tip-toe around one of the most important conversations of our time – race at work. She cuts to the chase with a deeply researched, practical guide that will transform all of us courageous enough to meaningfully explore our differences."

    Desray Shuck, Head of Technical Learning, Anglo American