Five Challenges That Plague Local Government Agencies and How To Overcome Them

In recent years, scandals emanating from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, the State Department, and the Internal Revenue Service have called into question the practices of these large federal bureaucracies and shaken people's confidence in their impartiality and fealty to the rule of law.  These scandals have led to both internal and Congressional hearings and investigations, and many previously obscure agents of these departments have found their names featured in unflattering headlines.  Although these examples continue to be played out on the national stage at the highest levels of the federal government, the problems such public bureaucracies encounter can likewise be found at the regional, state, and local levels. 

Public sector bureaucracies and governmental agencies face a number of different challenges that can create difficulties ranging from minor inefficiency issues to outright corruption and graph.  Furthermore, these same issues also present obstacles to organizations in the private sector, regardless of field or industry.  With the understanding that the first step in solving a problem is identifying it, the following list highlights some of the most common challenges faced by bureaucracies: 

Moral Challenges 

A bureaucracy can be a difficult place to work because concerns of individual morality are often squashed while ethically questionable or variable groupthink is favored as a function of bureaucratic expediency.  This can make the working environment stifling to the ethical leader while leading to the promotion of amoral pragmatists who are more inclined to focus on solving the next problem than on establishing a long-term vision and empowering, constructive culture within the organization.

Policy Paralysis 

Additional or ever-changing policy changes can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction among members of any bureaucratic agency.  This can lead to malaise within the workforce, hindering the agency's effectiveness by leading to higher rates of turnover and lower levels of productivity. 


In a democratic republic such as ours, public elections obviously have a big impact on the course of our governmental agencies and institutions.  However, politics can come into play in another way within organizations.  We've all heard the expression, "It's not what you know; it's who you know."  When employees in an institution perceive that chances of promotion and advancement are tied more to personal relationships than to merit, conditions are ripe for fomenting ruinous interpersonal competitions and squabbles over cooperative teamwork and departmental achievement. 

Soft Skills Training 

Having veteran people within an organization can be a great asset because these employees can offer stability and experience.  Nevertheless, these same people can be difficult to work with if they are slow to adapt to change or take a superior attitude to newer team members or administrators.  Learning how to get the most from veteran associates can be key in establishing institutional success. 


  The fast pace of today's world often makes it hard to find time to adequately train new people.  Increased turnover and changing expectations can further exacerbate the problem.  However, it is important to properly acculturate employees so that they have a clear conception of what their roles are within the organizational framework. 


Learn how Leadership Excellence can help your organization run more efficiently.

So what can be done to meet these common bureaucratic challenges?  An effective way to deal with these obstacles is to implement a systematic, professional program intent on training employees to view their environment and personal challenges from a fresh, new, positive perspective. This includes learning new skills and approaches regarding effective interpersonal communication, personal leadership, personal productivity, and management development.

Public Sector & Government Consulting in Cleveland and Surrounding Communities

Greg Thomas, our public sector consultant, has a wealth of experience helping local government organizations in Cleveland, Medina, Akron, and surrounding areas learn key leadership skills to run more efficiently and improve performance for the communities they serve.  Get a free online services quote or get in touch with Greg to learn more.