Government Leadership: Save Me from Bureaucracy – Nu Leadership

“God always takes the simplest way.”
Albert Einstein

Let’s explore leadership in the government sector. Please don’t laugh. I’m serious. There is a method to my madness. Please follow along. With over 15 years managing government projects, I’ve managed large and small contractors in the federal system. I fully understand the federal system with all of its restrictions, limitations, and constraints. In spite of all of these regulations, I’ve seen work get done and major accomplishments. I submit that even though managers aren’t generally allowed to appoint their staff, some organizations make outstanding achievements with their employees. How? Some managers forge relationships and build teams using their position and influence. Successful managers understand group dynamics. Some critics, however, view federal employees as mere slackers. This simply is not true if you critically analyze the federal workforce experience and talent. However, I would suggest that it’s a case of competent people operating in bad circumstances.

Let’s explore this further. Large private organizations have bureaucracies, too. Weber, the founding bureaucrat theorist, favored a bureaucracy to transform a small organization into a large-scale organization. Bureaucracies afford the advantages of standardization and controls. There is also a vital difference in organizational structure because the government changes top leaders every four years. These top appointments are highly political; they use a “top-down” leadership approach because of lack of trust between the new leaders and the “established” workforce. Efforts are, however, underway to improve these top managers and develop this Emergent Workforce (Blunt, 2000).

Therefore, emergent leaders can influence the nature of the federal government system. Don’t be naïve, because all organizations have problems. The federal government is just bigger. Leaders can make a difference in the government life. Start today!


Blunt, R. (2000). Leaders Growing Leaders: Preparing the Next Generation of Public Service Executive. The PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for the Business of Government.

Wren, D. (2005). The Evolution of Management Thought. Hooboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green