Ordway Tead

American academic

Ordway Tead (10 September 1891 – November 1973) was an American organizational theorist, adjunct professor of industrial relations.


  • Leadership is that combination of qualities by the possession of which one is able to get something done by others, chiefly because through his influence they become willing to do it.
    • Ordway Tead "The Nature and Use of Creative Leadership". In: Bulletin of the Taylor Society. Vol 12, Nr.3. p. 394.
  • [Committees are] a tool of the democratic, knowledge-pooling, and desire-harmonizing process which cannot be otherwise forwarded. And when committees fail, as they sometimes do, it is because the limits to their role are not clearly understood or because they have not benefited by proper leadership from the chairman.
    • Ordway Tead (1935) Creative Management: The Relation of Aims to Administration. p. 39.
  • Administration is the process and agency which is responsible for the determination of the aims for which an organization and its management are to strive, which establishes the broad policies under which they are to operate and which gives general oversight to the continuing effectiveness of the total operation in reaching the objectives sought.
    • Ordway Tead (1945) Democratic administration. p. 67.
  • More and more clearly every day, out of biology, anthropology, sociology, history, economic analysis, psychological insight, plain human decency and common sense, the necessary mandate of survival that we shall love all our neighbors as we do ourselves, is being confirmed and reaffirmed.
    • Attributed to Ordway Tead in: Forbes (1950) The Forbes scrapbook of Thoughts on the business of life. p. 66.
  • Sooner or later a democracy which is to survive has to be able to rely upon that enlargement of vision and purpose of those individuals who compose it, which means that their craving for devotion and self-sacrifice is satisfied in a democratic society on a nobler level, and with a finer recognition of the value of individual personality than is true of a national purpose of a totalitarian state under a dictator.
    • Attributed to Ordway Tead in: Forbes (1950) The Forbes scrapbook of Thoughts on the business of life. p. 138.

The art of leadership (1935)


Ordway Tead (1935) The art of leadership, McGraw-Hill Book Company.

  • Leadership is the activity of influencing people to cooperate toward some goal which they come to find desirable.
    • p. 20; As cited in: Joseph Clarence Rost (1993) Leadership for the Twenty-first Century. p. 48.
  • Almost every study of the secret of the successful leader has agreed that the possession of a generous and unusual endowment of physical and nervous energy is essential to personal ascendancy. Those who rise in any marked way above the mass of men have conspicuously more drive, more sheer endurance, greater vigor of body and mind than the average person,
    • p. 83; As cited in: Preston J. Beil (1956) Variety store retailing: A text and basic reference book for the multi-billion dollar variety store and popular-priced general merchandise market. p. 90.
  • The leader is one who knows with greater than average strength of intuition what he wants to get done and where he wants to go. 'The world stands aside to let pass the man who knows whither he is going.'
    This means that he possesses clarity and precision as to the objectives, purposes or aims that he desires for himself and his group, and that he holds these deeply enough and permanently enough to see them well on the way to being realized. Purposefulness to be effective requires that the aims are: (1) definite; (2) readily communicable to others; (3) potentially attractive to others; and (4) vigor¬ously, persistently and enthusiastically sustained by the leader.
  • Many leaders are in the first instance executives whose primary duty is to direct some enterprise or one of its departments or sub-units...
    It remains true that in every leadership situation the leader has to possess enough grasp of the ways and means, the technology and processes by means of which the purposes are being realized, to give wise guidance to the directive effort as a whole...
    In general the principle underlying success at the coordinative task has been found to be that every special and different point of view in the group affected by the major executive decisions should be fully represented by its own exponents when decisions are being reached. These special points of view are inevitably created by the differing outlooks which different jobs or functions inevitably foster. The more the leader can know at first hand about the technique employed by all his group, the wiser will be his grasp of all his problems...
    But more and more the key to leadership lies in other directions. It lies in ability to make a team out of a group of individual workers, to foster a team spirit, to bring their efforts together into a unified total result, to make them see the significance of the particular task each one is doing in relation to the whole.


  • Changing things is central to leadership. Changing them before anyone else is creative leadership
    • Recently often attributed to Ordway Tead.
    • Attributed to Antony Jay in older sources, see: Public Administration Review (1977). Vol. 15. p. 20.
    • Also called "Jay's Laws of Leadership", see: Paul Dickson (1999) The official rules and explanations. p. 33. This source states:
      • Jay's Laws of Leadership
      1. Changing things is central to leadership, and changing them before anyone else is creativeness.
      2. To build something that endures, it is of great importance to have a long tenure in office-to rule for many years. Quick success can be achieved in a year or two, but nearly all great tycoons have continued their building much longer.
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