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Discovering Leadership

Discovering Leadership
Designing Your Success

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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. 

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“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 

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
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

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