“The Art of the Possible”: Exploring the Leadership Qualities of Ralph W. Tyler


  • Kevin S. Zayed, Ph.D.


This article explores the leadership qualities of education researcher and professor Ralph W. Tyler (1902-1994). It argues that Tyler’s theoretical understanding and practical approach to administration, leadership, and mentoring—something he frequently referred to as “the art of the possibleâ€â€” is instructive for business executives, academics, and others interested in leadership. The article examines key moments in Tyler’s childhood and schooling that served to guide his later thought and actions, considers what, precisely, Tyler meant by “the art of the possible,†and offers glimpses into his leadership style by analyzing the perspectives of those who had a firsthand look at Tyler in action.