Bureaucrat. For some people, the word conjures up a bad bad feeling. Kafkaesque nightmares. Dreams of a risk-adverse, say no mentality.
Technically the word “bureaucrat” means member of a bureaucracy (defined as an administrative structure of a large or complex organization.”
To me, I always liked the sound of the word. It sounded like someone who had knowledge of a system. Who knew the institution and knew how to play the game. A person who knew how to push something through an organization, knew when to play it low, and always had a card in their back pocket. They weren’t sleazy and they really cared about people and the mission. They just knew it took some skill in getting anything done.
Maybe that sounds bad to people but I’ve always been a realistic. Big organizations require a certain amount of street sense and navigation ability. You have to learn how read people. Who are the players? What are their motivations? Learn how to read policies and the “real rules.” How to motivate someone who has no stake in your project.
And that’s why when I started GovLoop, I added the question – “Who is Your Favorite Bureaucrat?” A number of people have written me expressing that they don’t like the question as it brings a negative connotation to them. Others have simply wrote that there is no such thing.
But I want to start a movement to reclaim the word “bureaucrat.” Want to join? Or help me create a new word…Suggestions welcome.