Long-time lurker here looking for some help! I would welcome any advice and insights you guys have on the position I should take with a travel request that's come up.
A relatively new team member has asked for (urgent) approval for a trip to see a client. It seems to me a misjudgement of priorities (i.e. during the week in question, we need him in the office producing certain content that my department is responsible for). The client is marginal - a big customer, yes, but a relatively uninfluential regional office thereof.
However my general approach to travel requests is to cascade responsibility as much as possible: I like to ask the requestor to assess whether it fits as the right priority and expense, let me know their thoughts on the matter, and then I tend to go with their recommendation. (Most people, most of the time, make what I think is the right call, or err on the cost-cautious side.)
In this case, the response that has come back has not answered whether it is top priority - more of an assessment of how much or little the trip will impact the other work, and some dubious 'synergies': i.e. the client can give feedback on some of the draft content.
It so happens it's difficult to discuss live with the individual as he's on a couple of day's leave, and I'm basically left with the choice of veto-ing or approving.
My instinct is to go with my gut and veto. I am certain this will impact motivation and have a further ramification - one complicating factor is that this particular member of the staff is closely allied with a particularly unpleasant and politicking peer of mine,and has to my knowledge had conversations with him about my team setting the wrong priorities for him. (Which is wrong in my view, and I have a clear conscience, but a political reality.)
Any of that make sense? I'm grateful for any feedback or thoughts on the situation...