“The best relationships require hard work… Don’t see the challenges of your relationships as a reason to give up. Instead, use them as an opportunity to grow, and be the kind of person who you would want to be with.” (As seen in the 2015 Giving Journal of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®)
It is indeed challenging when you’re starting a relationship with someone, whether you’ve known them your whole life or just a week ago.
This brings me back to my work’s background. Any type of relationship is, in a way, a professional partnership. Both you and your partner should be committed to optimizing your togetherness to achieve the best results. Work aspects such as communicating, recognition, and looking for opportunities to grow better together are almost always present, but there’s one vital factor which is almost always neglected, and that is Performance Management.
Every now and then, we should, and we must, have that “conversation” with our partner if we see things aren’t going the right way or when some behaviours have to be addressed. Maybe it is just a cultural thing, but most (Filipino?) couples are rather passive-aggressive when it comes to dealing with the other in a relationship. Both feel obligated to say, “It’s alright” when in reality, they are troubled. Partners don’t want to be branded “selfish” or having “too much to ask” so they don’t ask.
This is the reason why, when a big fight occurs, everything snowballs into something bigger, and both end up digging each other’s dirty laundry out, airing it out for all to see.
In the industry, managers and peers are encouraged to call things out proactively, to make the operations fail-safe. Some don’t get it right the first time and the incident, not the person, is addressed. The mistakes are discussed including the motivations and behaviour around it. Managers don’t just give up on people – they understand them, and help make things right through a personalized goal-setting session which is practical, doable, and realistic.
Performance Management is integral. This isn’t a way to rant about how your partner’s smallest quirks annoy you or an excuse to criticize each other. It is a regularly-held, constructive medium for both partners to assess their current standing, talk about what they could improve on, plan a development program to address an existing issue or potential risks, and eventually support each other and work collaboratively to make improvements. And when improvements happen, you should also be able to acknowledge your partner and recognize his/her efforts, giving credit for what they have contributed.
There are times when it won’t work – whatever you’re both trying to change would sometimes recoil into something worse. That’s where you have to sit down together, hear each other out, and re-align your prerogatives. Career-wise, having a developmental plan sets the relationship in the right course and usually produces a desirable outcome. In some inevitable cases, however, no improvements are made and no effort is put in place.
That is when you have to make that “difficult conversation” with your partner and decide mutually if you should put finality on things.
Part of Performance Management is hoping for the best and doing what you can do to make it happen – but if all else fails, part of this facet is to simply have a firm decision regarding how you want to take on the relationship.
Giving feedback is basic. Performance Management is all about getting results, making it work and in the long run, improving your overall relationship. Your feedback and action plans should be laid out specifically, cohesively, and as much as possible, constructively, for everything to work out fine.