A Book Report on Gilbert, M. Communication Miracles at Work: Effective Tools and Tips for
A Book Report on
Gilbert, M - A Book Report on Gilbert, M. Communication Miracles at Work: Effective Tools and Tips for introduction. (2002). Communication Miracles at Work: Effective Tools and Tips for Getting the Most from Your Work Relationships. California: Red Wheel/Weiser.
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People communicate in the workplace most of the time. There are a number of glitches in the communication process, however. Somewhere along the way, communication breaks down because of personality differences, cultural issues, or incompetence of the person receiving instructions or communication. The result is usually predictable: unnecessary conflict, goals and objectives are not met or worse, the organization breaks down.
When the situations are carefully weighed, however, a lot of these problems could have been averted had the people involved known how to use communication effectively. Although we have told since time immemorial that we should talk some, and listen more, yet the communication process still breaks down. How come? What are the things that should be done in order to deal with these communication problems in the workplace and ensure a better flow of information and not to mention, better relationships between and among the personnel of the organization?
Matthew Gilbert’s Communication Miracles at Work addresses this concern. He highlights skills in communication that can help people deal more effectively with bosses, colleagues and customers. He also looks at the different hindrances to effective communication and the different bad habits that should be overcome in order to communicate well. The author explores issues on corporate culture, gender, stress and workplace relationships. The advices he offers are practical and can be applied to any kind of job.
The Modern Workplace and Its Culture
The workplace of today has evolved greatly from what it was twenty years ago. Companies are now more generous in giving benefits and salaries. In addition to this, the workplace is now more diverse: there are more women in corporations and workplaces now; there are more autonomy and choices for employees; time for working is now flexible and the concept of committing to one work for a lifetime seems to be an outdated concept of work (Gilbert, 2002).
Alongside these improvements in the workplace setting, it seems, however, that the stress levels in the workplace have also risen higher. More or less fifty percent of employees are not contented with their jobs and they will opt out with the first better opportunity that comes along. The low level of job satisfaction as well as the increasing level of stress is mainly due to dysfunctional relationships and communication problems in the workplace (Gilbert, 2002, p. 11).
Different Relationships; Different Communication Issues
Gilbert masterfully documented several levels and aspects of workplace communications that can go awry. He looked at the process of communication between supervisors and managers and their subordinates, as well as the nature of the communication between colleagues and co-workers.
There are a number of complications to this communication process. For one, each worker has a unique personality style which may or may not work with the personality of other co-workers or even with customers. He highlighted the differences in the communication modes among people of the same sex and the kinds of communication going on between two people of different sexes. His examples of the occurrences of these kinds of miscommunication highlighted his ideas about the nature of communication in the workplace. For example, a worker may feel threatened because she feels that the manager has withheld some information from her.
Gilbert (2002) also explored miscommunication, its manifestations and its consequences for coworkers in particular and for the organization in general. These miscommunications tend to fester among employees and might affect not only the persons involved but they might even involve other people in the organization in their conflict. The personality styles of employees and their perceived superiority or inferiority relative to other employees also has an impact on the dynamics of communication in the workplace. Employees who feel superior tend to condescend to other employees while those who feel inferior may become subservient to the will of others.
Gilbert’s discussion of the nature of the communication with supervisors and managers also yield valuable insights into the power relationships going on. The decision-making process is usually clear cut in the organization. However, there are several instances in which the subordinate may challenge the power or the decision of the manager. In these cases, when the manager asserts his right as a manager without explaining the nuances of the decisions, miscommunications and conflict may arise. Hence, managers should also be careful in dealing with their subordinates.
The author highlighted the importance of trust and respect of the manager to his subordinates. If such trust and respect were communicated, the subordinate would be empowered to act in a right manner in different instances in the organization. Otherwise, the relationship would focus on conflict and in proving who is right or wrong.
The nature of the relationship and of the kind of communication between the managers and the subordinates also reflect on the relationship of employees with customers. Customers should not be treated as sources of sale only. Rather, they should be treated as human beings. If this were done, then the communication will become more effective.
Matthew Gilbert’s book sheds light on the nature of communications in the workplace and presents the dynamics and the nuances of communication in this particular setting. He also draws upon organizational behavior concepts in order to explain his ideas. Hence, students of interpersonal communications would be able to generate important insights in workplace communications. Furthermore, the subject matter of Gilbert is a timely one, given the changing nature of the workplace and the ever-increasing demands on both the managers and the rank and file employees of different businesses in the world.
Gilbert’s main thesis in his book is simple enough. In communication, respect is a very important factor. When managers give such respect and trust to their employees, they will be able to act and decide on matters worthy of such respect and trust. Likewise, this trust and respect will also be transferred to the customers through those who work for the organization. In the near future, the nature and the culture prevailing in the workplace may still change. Given the work of Gilbert, the students of workplace communications in the future would be able to benefit from his rich insights.