Bureaucracy, like anything else, can be done well or poorly. When talking about bureaucracy we should keep in mind how we feel when people use the word "technology" to refer exclusively to harmful or inept applications of technology.
So here's a story that might divide HN into two camps:
I met a guy through a friend and it turned out we were both in software development. I told him a humorous story about a really awful bureaucratic situation at work, and how I was able to manipulate management to do what I wanted. He said, "Sounds like a lot of leadership," and I replied, "Oh, yeah, there was leadership all over the place, it was awful, but in the end the right thing got done." By the expression on his face I could tell he had never heard "leadership" used in a negative way before. He actually used "leadership" to refer to what I did to solve the problem. "Devious obsequiousness" would have been a better term, but he was trained to label any kind of effort with a positive outcome "leadership."
So, I wonder how many HNers think "leadership" has positive, negative, or neutral connotations....