1st Edition

The Language of Transition in Leadership Your Calling as a Leader in a World of Change

    246 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    246 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this book, the authors utilise their decades of experience in leadership and coaching for change to help leaders develop the necessary skills to lead people and organisations in transition. Combining a scientific and practice-based approach, they show readers how to develop and maintain their own impactful leadership style while creating psychological safety in their teams.

    Leadership that achieves sustainable results comes from connecting past, present and future. Describing leadership as a journey, the book invites the reader to discover their calling and realise the importance of examining the roots of their leadership, before thinking about its destination. It gives leaders access to a new dimension of unprecedented growth and demonstrates the ways these lessons and skills can transform change into lasting transitions.

    Accessible and written in a lively style, The Language of Transition in Leadership is an important book for leaders and executives. It will also be of interest to coaches, organisational advisors, management consultants, students of leadership and those transitioning into the workforce.

    1. Welcome to The Language of Transition: About Change, but Different

    2. Routeplanner: The Transition Cycle

    3. Every Change Begins with An Ending: The Importance of Transition

    4. From Kitchen Table to Conference Room: Contact and Welcome

    5. In Your Vulnerability Lies Your Strength: Attachment and Resilience

    6. First Bond, Then Lead: Bonding and Intimacy

    7. To Welcome is to Learn to Let Go: Loss and Separation

    8. First the Pain Then the Gain: Grief and Integration

    9. The Key to Real Change is in Your Pocket: Meaning and Calling

    10. Behind the Names


    Jakob van Wielink is an international leadership coach and trainer. He is a partner at The School for Transition and an affiliate of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition.

    Riet Fiddelaers-Jaspers, PhD., a trainer and grief therapist. She a is a pioneering author in the field of attachment, loss and grief and an affiliate of the Expertise Centre for Coping with Loss.

    Leo Wilhelm is an executive in the Dutch central government and an affiliate of The School for Transition.

    "A refreshing read on the future of leadership! The Language of Transition in Leadership will not only teach you the nuances of great management style, but also the decisiveness, team building and empathy you need to get the best out of your team and organization. A must read!"

    Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is the Thinkers50 #1 Executive Coach and New York Times bestselling author of The Earned Life, Triggers, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

    "I am in transition. You are in transition. We are all in transition if we are open and honest about our lives. The north star to our constant state of transition is our calling. 30 years ago, I spent 18 months determining my calling. Had there been the benefit of The Language of Transition in Leadership: Your Calling as a Leader in a World of Change it’s quite possible my discovery would have been quicker. The authors provide a powerful road map guiding one to the discovery of why you are here!"

    Ed Chaffin, PCC – Author - #1 Best Seller UnCommon Leadership for the New Reality: 3 Principles That Drive Greater Awareness, Engagement and Psychological Safety.

    "Jakob, Riet, and Leo are geniuses. I am recommending this book to everyone I know! This is a unique, insightful, practical take on inspiring, transition-based leadership for these challenging times of disruption and uncertainty. This isn't just a collection of tips and strategies, it's a whole new way of thinking. This book is a gift. Get it. Read it. Use it."

    Terry Small, President of the Terry Small Learning Corporation

    "Humans evolved and flourished by focusing on and avoiding danger. But for most of us today, that hard-wired approach no longer works. Focusing on opportunity, on the positive, is the surest way to flourish. This guide is full of practical and inspiring insights on how to learn from ‘negative’ experience and rewrite our stories and forge new paths to growth – individually, as teams or as organisations. We honor the past, as the authors write, but focus on the future that asks to be made possible."

    Audrey Clegg, Chief Talent Officer, Sanofi

    "This book is a must-read for every leader navigating transition. It offers guidance, reflection questions, and practical examples on understanding one's calling as a leader and leading a team through change. The authors wisely state, "You cannot take your employees further than you are prepared to go yourself." I invite all readers to use this book as a tool for personal growth and to push beyond their current limitations."

    Dr. Judith Konermann, Head of Leadership, Culture and Inclusion, Coca-Cola HBC

    "This book has become a compass for my leadership journey. Arriving at a point where I was allowed to make the transition from the leader of a local religious community of monks to the leader of all the communities of the same religious institute worldwide, this book brought me back to the importance of my calling as a human being, a Christian and a monk. Calling as a secure base. The Language of Transition in Leadership a treasured travel guide for my leadership journey but also to help the religious institute on its journey through history, present and future. It continues to inspire me!"

    Dom Bernardus Peeters OCSO, Abbot General of the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists)

    "The Language of Transition in Leadership offers a bold vision, and a deep one, built on the premise that we cannot know how to foster or navigate organizational change without intimate knowledge of our own life transitions, how we have been unconsciously shaped by them, and what we can learn from them. Just as the title implies, this requires a new language of understanding that pierces through our conventional wisdom to reach the heart of the matter: how we lead begins with who we are, and extends to what we do. In chapter after chapter readers will encounter surprising new insights into themselves, their work, and their personal relationships, prompted by fresh conceptualizations of familiar problems, practical tools for self-reflection, relatable real-life illustrations, and unshakable belief in the capacity of every leader to find in every ending the seeds of new beginnings."  

    Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, Director of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition and editor of New Techniques in Grief Therapy: Bereavement and Beyond 

    "First we must learn self-leadership before we lead others effectively. This book challenges us to deeply reflect on ourselves, what has shaped us, what makes us tick, what are our triggers, what are our deepest motivators, to help refine our leadership practice. As a young leader growing up in South Africa, I was fortunate to have worked directly for Nelson Mandela. A man who overcame considerable adversity including years of imprisonment, and yet emerged as a giver of hope, as the icon of unity. He had a powerful presence radiating both a compelling vision for the future, and personal warmth to all those he met, whatever their station. His example challenges us to grow beyond our circumstances, to continually practice leadership through deep self-knowledge, reflection, and discipline."

    Viv McMenamin, CEO South Africa, Mondi

    "This book is phenomenal. I now enjoy conflict and the way I handle tense dialogue, which has helped me at work, but even more so at home. It’s all-encompassing leadership vision and exceptionally effective methods allow any organisation to remain perfectly sane and inspired during the toughest of transformations. It is so powerful, that we designed our own multi-year leadership programme around it, and rolled it out throughout our entire organisation. It has changed the way we communicate, think and lead. We wouldn’t be the same company without it. Read it with an open mind, it might change your life."

    Rik van der Woerdt, CEO Amsterdam Data Collective

    "Perhaps the most challenging task for the leader is to remain inspired when everything around them is changing. My son Tariq was killed by 14-year-old Tony at the age of 20. To return to the full joy of my life and thrive, I had to take the path of forgiveness. It is no different: leaders only grow to their full power, impact and results when they dare to face the deepest pain in their lives and make it a source of inspiration. Jakob, Riet and Leo superbly guide you to manifest that and land on higher ground. A must read for every leader!"

    Azim Khamisa, founder and director of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation, USA.

    "This book provides a novel exploration of the path to effective leadership. The authors adeptly shift between the leader’s inward reflective journey and the outward expression of leadership that extends from a place of conscious choice and intentionality. The direct and positive approaches identified in the text uniquely identify change, loss and transition as potentially transformative experiences that can be built upon to enhance everyday life. I know of no other written works for leaders that cover this ground in such depth, and in such a powerfully positive way. This is a must read for anyone who wishes to lead from the heart."

    Darcy Harris, PhD, Professor of Thanatology, King’s University College at Western Ontario

    "I think you become a leader by never ceasing to find new answers to questions in a context that is constantly changing. In doing so, leadership begins with the person of the leader himself, but moves toward the other. This book is very special. The case histories drawn from the real, sometimes so unruly practice of the leader hit the mark. So do the questions to work with. To shape transition is above all to enter into dialogue with yourself and the people around you. With this book in hand, you will learn how AND gain the confidence to succeed."

    Maurice Unck, CEO of RET, the public transport operator of the Rotterdam Region