For many years during my professional career, I was not a fan of either giving or receiving a performance review. True, these reviews provided a time for reflection and often a chance to give someone a “pat on the back” for accomplishments. But, the reviews also became an opportunity to give or receive that dreaded critique (often referred to as “personal development”).

However, now I view the annual performance review as something of a necessity in determining the health of the relationship between my coworkers and myself, as well as assessing the satisfaction level I have with the overall organization. In fact, the regular one-on-one meetings throughout the year between managers and employees ensure that everyone is on the same page, and that the organization is on track to achieve its goals. There are minimal, if any surprises, when the end of the year arrives on the calendar; everyone has a clear understanding of past wins and future expectations.

So, what if, in our personal relationships, we considered having ongoing conversations during a given time period to assess the happiness and satisfaction levels of each partner? By conducting this relationship check-in, I’m confident we could improve the health of our relationship and, in some cases, slow or halt its decline. How wonderful it would be to pause on a regular basis and acknowledge our partner’s wonderful qualities and contributions to the relationship! Also, we could take ownership for our role in the partnership and, together, address any red flags that might be flying.

Image from Pixabay

Here’s a guideline for a relationship ranking. Where does yours fall on the spectrum? Perhaps a conversation about the health of your relationship might create joint awareness about the pros and cons. In turn, that might motivate you, as a couple, to move toward a more satisfactory rating.

Poor — Multiple serious issues that need addressing immediately; guidance from a professional relationship counselor is highly recommended.

Fair –Complacency has set in; also, there are some issues that should be acknowledged. An effort should be made by both partners to course-correct the relationship.

Good — Both individuals find the relationship to be satisfactory, but a constant joint effort ought to be made to regenerate a “spark” before that false sense of security takes over.

Excellent– The relationship is healthy, because the individuals communicate often and well, demonstrate mutual understanding and respect, acknowledge one another’s contributions and encourage each other’s success, display kindness and compassion, honesty and integrity within the relationship. The focus is on ensuring that each partner grows and develops, while both partners make a concerted effort to encourage that the relationship evolves into a deep and loving one.

Performance reviews, whether personal or professional, provide us with a chance to “look closely in the mirror” at ourselves. It’s an opportunity to applaud our successes and to reflect on past behaviors so we can make improvements going forward. It also gives us the opportunity to honestly and openly discuss changes we might like to see in our partner in order to strengthen the relationship.

It makes sense to have ongoing discussions with your partner about matters “great and small,” so that sound, joint decisions may be made to keep the relationship on-track. At the end of a given period, you and your partner could perform the relationship assessment to determine what zone you are in at that time: Poor, Fair, Good or Excellent. Since all relationships can benefit from improvement, this is your opportunity to make adjustments to get to the “Excellent” stage. Remember, no one is perfect, so striving for perfection in yourself or your partner is not required. “Excellence” will be just fine!

Relationship Strategist, Pam Evans, is the author of Ring EXchange — Life Lessons from a Multiple Marrier.

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