I’m a new Fed (only 4 months now) but I have over 16 years experience in private industry, so I found out rather quickly that there is definitely a lot of room for improvement here! One way that I’ve approached issues without sounding like a rebel or a know-it-all is to ask questions. Lots of questions. I get clarification on everything, and I never accept “because that’s the way we do it” as a final answer.
What I’ve found is that when people have to clearly and logically explain something that is clearly illogical, they get extremely uncomfortable… and they start “speaking up” for me. Often they simply resort to complaining, but that opens the door for me to ask them, “What should be changed, and how can we go about getting the change implemented?”