Swimming in Salt Water

While swimming in Banderas Bay near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I reflected on the joys of salt water. Its extra buoyancy allows one to put more energy into going somewhere and less into just staying afloat.

There is a parallel with workgroups. Some have a quality that conveys buoyancy to one another. The quality of the culture helps everyone to stay afloat. In a smoothly functioning, civil workgroup, encounters with others further work towards a shared mission.

In a poorly functioning, uncivil workgroups, social encounters detract from the shared mission. They bring individual or clique goals into the mix. Individuals devote more of their energy just staying afloat, defending their self-respect and searching for a way to function effectively and painlessly.

Not that one should take a well-functioning group for granted. As with salt water, it is important to track the flows. Progress requires careful attention to the flows of currents. Getting in and out of the waves can be a delicate procedure, especially during dynamic times. It’s good to have built up some resilience.

Swimming in salt water has its joys but it also brings responsibilities.

    What is your favorite place to swim?

    Are you swimming in salt water today?

    Or are you facing a raging torrent?

This entry was posted in career, Change Management, Civility, Dysfunctional Groups, Respect, Workgroups, Worklife and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Swimming in Salt Water

  1. Heriberto says:

    Dear Dr. Leiter:

    I totally agree with you. It is very important to be aware about both things:

    - The quality of culture inside the work environment and also in community. I been observing that entire communities are convinced that they’re abused by employers and authorities. So, they asume propositions as impositions, and changes as employer’s new strategies of improvement, as a resource to get ride of employees.It would be better if they to asume and face the risk to improve themselves.

    - Attention to the flows. It is also important to keep atention to possible changes, in order keep our skils growing and also the meaning of our activity.

    Best Regards


    • Michael says:


      You make excellent points regarding the importance of being responsive and aware to make the most of your workgroup situation. People cannot be passive consumers within their workgroups but fully participate in creating the environment they hope to live within.

      Thank you,

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