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Discovering Leadership

Discovering Leadership
Designing Your Success

January 2019 | 504 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

An introductory leadership textbook that guides students through the concept of leadership by design, a theory that involves planning each step of their leadership development, focusing on practical skills and valuable attributes that will maximize their leadership success now and into the future.


Organized around five major design challenges, each challenge is explored in a stand-alone module. Students begin the leadership journey with themselves, understanding their own strengths, styles, and skills. The text moves on to relationships, exploring how leadership is a process that involves values, decision-making, motivation, and power. A module on others’ success unpacks the most effective practices of leadership and management, this is followed by a module on leading culture, teams, and community, before concluding with a section on how leaders can create lasting, positive change.


The book covers foundational leadership topics with a strong emphasis on skill building and helping develop CORE competencies: confidence, optimism, resiliency, and engagement. Students are encouraged to develop these skills through experiential learning, with multiple features in each chapter such as reflective and scenario-based exercises, and case studies of internationally recognized companies like Amazon and Proctor & Gamble, along with interviews with Fortune 500 Company CEOs.


There are online resources for instructors and students, which include: Test bank, PowerPoint slides, an instructor manual, teaching tips, answers to in-text questions, multimedia resources, quiz questions, and flashcards.

Suitable reading for first and second year undergraduates on Leadership, Introduction to Leadership, and Leading Organizations courses

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
February 23, 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
October 3, 2019

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

Anthony E. Middlebrooks

Tony Middlebrooks, Ph.D. creates tools, explores and teaches at the intersection of leadership, innovation, creativity and design as Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs for Horn Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware. Dr. Middlebrooks has created and taught more than 35 different courses for all collegiate levels, as well as numerous experiential abroad programs. He presently teaches leadership theory and practice, decision-making, creativity and innovation, and social entrepreneurship. He received both the University of Delaware Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Advising Awards, and regularly helps... More About Author

Scott J. Allen

Dr. Scott J. Allen is the Reid Chair in Management at John Carroll University, where he is an Associate Professor. He teaches courses in leadership, management, executive communication, and the future of work. He has published more than 50 book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. He presents at academic conferences and has written four books. His most recent book is Captovation: Online Presentations by Design. Outside his academic endeavors, Scott speaks, consults, coaches leaders, facilitates workshops, and leads retreats across industries. More About Author

Mindy S. McNutt

Mindy S. McNutt, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Leadership at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She earned her B.A. in Communication, M.S. in Personnel Counseling, and Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from Wright State; and her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Bowling Green State University.  Currently she teaches in all three leadership programs at Wright State, the undergraduate program in Organizational Leadership, the Master of Science in Leadership Development, and the Doctorate in Organizational Studies. Dr. McNutt has engaged in leadership curriculum development for over 30 years for high school... More About Author

James L. Morrison

Dr. Morrison is currently a professor of Organizational and Community Leadership in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE. His research interest focuses on issues surrounding senior leadership accountability. Currently, he is researching the effectiveness of CEOs in preparing for the possibility of a natural disaster. He has published two books and over 80 manuscripts in a variety of professional journals. In addition, Dr. Morrison has presented over 90 papers at regional, national, and international conferences. He is currently serving on 3 refereed editorial boards for academic journals... More About Author

Also available as a South Asia Edition.

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ISBN: 9781506336824