You are here

Discovering Leadership

Discovering Leadership
Designing Your Success

Additional resources:

January 2019 | 504 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Prepare your students to lead the future.

Discovering Leadership: Designing Your Success provides a practical, engaging foundation and easy-to-understand framework for individuals to purposefully design leadership. This action-oriented text starts with the self and helps students understand their individual strengths, styles, and skills through numerous reflection opportunities. Next, the text explores the relational aspects of leadership and best practices for motivating and inspiring followers. Finally, the text concludes by examining how leaders can transform their communities and create lasting, positive change. Practical applications and activities in each chapter help students develop their confidence, optimism, resiliency, and engagement. Regardless of your students’ background or major, they will gain the knowledge and skills they need to become thoughtful, impactful leaders. 

Give your students the SAGE edge!

SAGE edge offers a robust online environment featuring an impressive array of free tools and resources for review, study, and further exploration, keeping both instructors and students. Learn more at

“One of the best leadership texts I have ever read. If students immerse themselves in the activities and discussions contained within, they will put this book down with understanding of how to motivate others to know, be, and do more.”
–Joshua H. Truitt, University of Central Florida 

Jules Bruck
Chapter 14: Creating a Culture of Innovation
Dan Freeman
Chapter 15: Entrepreneurial Leadership
About the Authors
Introduction and Foundations
Leadership Matters

Organization of This Textbook: The Leadership by Design Framework

Content: Topics and Special Features

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 1. A Framework for Leadership Success: Design and Your CORE
Designing and Leadership

Designing Your Leadership by Building Your CORE

Designing Your Leadership—First Step: Your Goals

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

You: Student and Designer of Your Own Leadership

Chapter 2. Designing Your Perceptions of Leaders and Leadership
Your Brain Is a Lean, Mean, Pattern-Making Machine: You Construct Your World

Misconceptions About Leaders and Leadership

Effective Leaders Are _____: Characteristics and Traits

Effective Leaders Can Do _____: Skills and Expertise

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 3. Designing Your Leadership Capacity

New Challenges . . . Need New Leadership . . . Need You

New Leadership Skills in Demand

Design Your Leadership Capacity: Highlighting Strengths

Design Your Personal Leadership Brand

Commit to a Journey to Accelerate Your Career

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 4. Your Values and Ethical Actions

Ethical Issues and the Student Experience

Ethics—The Key Concepts

The Roots of Moral Development

The Ethical Challenges of Leadership

Designing Your Ethical Leadership

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

The Leadership Challenge: Designing Leadership Relationships

Chapter 5. Design Thinking and Brain Leading
Introduction: Designing Self to Designing Relationships

Brain Leading in Six Dimensions

Design Thinking for Your Leadership Toolbox

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 6. Decision-Making

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions in Leadership

In Leadership, Decision-Making Is a Team Sport (Much of the Time)

How Did We Get Here? This Was Not the Plan: Barriers to Decision-Making

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 7. Influence, Power, and Motivation

Forms of Influence

Moving Individuals and Team From A to Z

Gaining Power in Groups and Organizations


Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Designing Others’ Success: The Other Engagement

Chapter 8. Creativity, Problem-Solving, and Idea-Generating
Yes, You Really Are Creative

Yes, You Have Problems

Yes, Creativity Will Help (a Lot)

Yes, You Can Generate Many, Many Ideas

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 9. Effective Practices for Leading Others to Success

Design for Followers’ Needs and Motivation

Augment Leadership and Management Functions: When Multitasking Really Matters

IGNITE as a Leader

DELIVER as a Manager

Design Others’ Success With a Situational Leadership Approach

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 10. Utilizing Change Processes Effectively
Introduction: Change Happens—Lead It or Not

Identify Levels of Change

Change Yourself Before You Can Change Others

Barriers to Change

Leading Change

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Strategic Planning

Chapter 11. Culture

The Way We Do Things Around Here: Understanding Culture

The Leader’s Role and Organizational Culture

Designing Organizational Culture

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 12. Leading a Team
Introduction: Designing Teams Within the Organizational Culture

Just What Is a Team?

Essentials of Great Teams

From Group to Team: Stages of Development

Leading and Being a Team

When Teams Go Wrong

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 13. Designing a Culture That Cares
Introducing a Culture That Cares

Leading With Service

Make a Difference: Designing a Culture That Cares

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Designing in the 5th Dimension

Chapter 14. Creating a Culture of Innovation by Jules Bruck, PhD
Why Innovate? Designing the Future

Understanding Innovation

Diverge for Creativity, Converge for Innovation

Design Thinking for Innovation Culture

Creating a Climate of Innovation With the Dimensions of the Brain

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 15. Entrepreneurial Leadership by Tony Middlebrooks, PhD, and Dan Freeman, PhD

Entrepreneurship: Re-envisioning Leadership

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Leading the Entrepreneurial Process

The Evolving Role of the Entrepreneurial Leader

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Chapter 16. Systems and Sustainability

Systems and Systems Thinking

Design for Sustainability

Sustainable Leadership—Authentic Leadership

Chapter Summary

Key Terms



Instructor Teaching Site

Instructor Teaching Site (Password Protected)

SAGE edge for Instructors, supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students. 

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course. 
  • Multimedia Resources that include meaningful web links to facilitate further exploration of topics covered in the reading.
  • Instructor Manual containing lecture notes, teaching tips, answers to text questions, and additional activities.
Student Study Site

Student Study Site (Open Access)

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts.
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.
  • Chapter summaries with learning objectives reinforce the most important material.
  • Multimedia Resources that include meaningful web links to facilitate further exploration of topics covered in the reading.

“One of the best leadership texts I have ever read. If students immerse themselves in the activities and discussions contained within, they will put this book down with an understanding of how to motivate others to know, be, and do more.”

Joshua H. Truitt
University of Central Florida

Discovering Leadership: Designing Your Leadership Success represents an excellent first conversation and illustration of the catalyst intersection between design thinking and more traditional business management and leadership conversations. Students will benefit from the holistic five dimensional view of leadership, and faculty will be challenged to think beyond traditional boundaries of organizational management and effectiveness.” 

DeNisha McCollum
John Brown University

“A comprehensive leadership development text based on principles of design thinking.”

Kerry Priest
Kansas State University

“This book will help us better prepare out students for the internships and post-graduation placements we hope for.”

Linette P. Fox
Johnson C. Smith University

“The text is a phenomenal guide for using a design thinking process toward developing effective leaders that are desperately needed by our world.”

Don Mulvaney
Auburn University

“Provides an opportunity for students to learn about themselves as leaders and how they can use their leadership skills to effectively lead others within an organization.”

Heather A. Vilhauer
California State University, East Bay

“This is a text that lays a foundation from which the students can build their leadership knowledge and begin their personal leadership journey.”

Patricia Mitchell
The University of San Francisco

Undergraduate course with 23 students. I liked the level of information and the focus on self-development of leadership skills

Dr Paul Hanges
Psychology Dept, University Of Maryland
February 24, 2019

Will be a promising text for courses with a scholar-practitioner focus.

Dr Malcolm North
Leadership Studies, University Of Central Arkansas
January 15, 2019
Key features


  • Two unique themes are emphasized across all chapters of this book: 
    • The purposeful design of leadership
    • Developing core capacities to face an unpredictable future
  • A uniquely useful design framework engages students in the purposeful design of their own leadership. This design approach organizes leadership into five major design challenges, each of which comprises a distinct and separate module aligned with the core components of the leadership definition, starting with the student’s design of themselves.
  • CORE Attribute Builders comprise of engaging, experiential activities that students can actively work on to develop their confidence, optimism, resilience, and engagement. 
  • Skill Builder Activities are self-directed activities, tested for learning success in and out of real classrooms, in which students can develop important skills and gain richer understanding of specific concepts.
  • Leadership that Makes a Difference features profile leaders that have had an impact, many of whom students will find unexpected, to broaden students’ conception of who is a leader and what it means to make a difference.
  • Leadership by Design introduces students to different design principles and rules that designers use to enhance their product and can be applied to leadership to encourage exploration, discussion, and new ways of thinking.
  • A unique section on designing the future with cutting-edge topics such as fostering a culture of innovation, entrepreneurial leadership, and seeing the long-term and big picture with sustainability and systems.
  • Myth or Reality? features examine perceptions and misconceptions of leadership and commonly held beliefs through established research and practice. 
  • Reflection Questions prompt deeper thinking and discussion about the topics. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

4. Your Values and Ethical Actions

7. Influence, Power & Motivation

Preview this book

For instructors

Please select a format:

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental