Effective delegation, levels of empowerment, the limits of authority. All topics worthy of entire books, much less a single blog.
So I’m just going to touch on a small thing we do, called “I intend to…”
“I intend to…” is an effective technique (usually done via email) that people in my organization frequently use when they wish to take initiative that they think might be at the edges of their mandate or simply just want to make sure their supervisor is on board and fully informed.
“I intend to sign ‘X’ contract by end of day tomorrow unless I hear otherwise.”
“I intend to order ‘Y’ unless I hear from you within 24 hours.”
“I intend to promote ‘Z’ on Friday unless you object.”
We call it “IIT” for short.
An IIT tells your boss what you are about to do and gives her a reasonable time to veto it if she so desires.
If you have a good rapport with your boss, communicate with clarity, and understand the organization’s mission and available resources, most IITs should sail through like a hot knife through warm butter.
When I’m vacillating, sitting on the fence on an issue, an IIT usually pushes me into the camp of the person taking the initiative, particularly if I have confidence in the person (and if they are working for me, I generally do!).
I appreciate people who move things forward, take responsibility, get involved.
For me to block the IIT means I’m taking the monkey back, assuming at least some level of responsibility going forward.
I’ve got lots of things on my desk, plenty to do. I’m not particularly eager to be distracted. Sometimes I will message back, “Fine, just make sure __________ (fill in some detail that I’ve got a hot spot for).
Most of the time I just read the IIT, smile, and feel a burst of gratitude that I get to work with such a terrific bunch of go-getters.