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Discovering Leadership

Discovering Leadership
Designing Your Success

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 

Chapter 1. A Framework for Leadership Success: Design and Your CORE
Chapter 2. Designing Your Perceptions of Leaders and Leadership
Chapter 3. Designing Your Leadership Capacity
Chapter 4. Your Values and Ethical Actions
Chapter 5. Design Thinking and Brain Leading
Chapter 6. Decision-Making
Chapter 7. Influence, Power, and Motivation
Chapter 8. Creativity, Problem-Solving, and Idea-Generating
Chapter 9. Effective Practices for Leading Others to Success
Chapter 10. Utilizing Change Processes Effectively
Chapter 11. Culture
Chapter 12. Leading a Team
Chapter 13. Designing a Culture That Cares
Chapter 14. Creating a Culture of Innovation by Jules Bruck, PhD
Chapter 15. Entrepreneurial Leadership by Tony Middlebrooks, PhD, and Dan Freeman, PhD
Chapter 16. Systems and Sustainability


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

A useful addition to the leadership practice. Some practical features with reflective questions to help improve leadership styles and make students and managers think about their leadership.

Mrs Sharon Gayter
Business School, Teesside University
June 1, 2021

Though I attempted to have this text adopted, another was chosen due to "best-fit":
Theoharis, G., & Scanlan, M. (2015). Leadership for increasingly diverse schools. Routledge.

Nevertheless, I look forward to potentially adopting this text in the very near future!

Dr Natasha N. Johnson
Educ Policy Studies Dept, Georgia State University
January 8, 2020

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
August 28, 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. 

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781506336831

ISBN: 9781506336824