How does leadership affect your ISO 9001:2015 audit? This was a question put to me recently by a client about to begin their transition to ISO 9001:2015 and after researching the subject I decided that a blog post on the subject might be helpful for others that have yet to start their transition.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LEADERSHIP IN QUALITY MANAGEMENT
Lincoln, Ghandi, Churchill, Mandela – All influential leaders throughout history but what are the common characteristics of these and many other great leaders? Focus, confidence, integrity, passion, charisma, good communication…these are just some of the traits that great leaders share and it is no different for those who want to be a success within the quality profession.
The importance of leadership in quality management cannot be overstated. In order to get things done by people, management must provide leadership in the organisation. We typically think of companies competing by means of their products and/or services, but they probably compete more by means of their leaders. Better leaders develop better employees and the two together develop better products.
This probably explains why leadership has been one of the hot topics within the quality profession over the last couple of years and why the CQI competency framework and the latest revision of ISO 9001:2015 both adopt a clear focus on ‘leadership’.
HOW IS LEADERSHIP REFERENCED IN THE CQI COMPETENCY FRAMEWORK & ISO 9001:2015?
The CQI competency framework states that in order to be successful in a quality leadership role someone should “use leadership behaviors to maximise influence and develop a culture of evaluation and improvement.”
One of the most significant changes within ISO 9001:2015 was the amendment in Clause 5 where “Management Responsibility” becomes “Leadership”. ISO 9001:2015 expects leaders to take accountability for the effectiveness of an organisations quality management system ensuring policy and quality objectives are consistent with the overall strategic direction of the organisation.
HOW DOES LEADERSHIP AFFECT YOUR ISO 9001:2015 AUDIT?
ISO 9001:2015 requires top management to maintain a focus on enhancing customer satisfaction as well as consistently provide products and services that conform to customer requirements. To achieve this it is essential for top management to use leadership skills to promote quality within the organisation, ensuring the requirements of the organisations quality management system are fundamental to, rather than an addition to the organisations business processes.
Top management also need to ‘lead’ the organisation to demonstrate its commitment to quality to its customers. It is the auditors role to look for proof that top management are fully engaged in the management of the organisation’s quality management system and that they are fully committed to continual improvement. The auditor will need to be able to communicate effectively with top management and have a good understanding of management activities to ensure the transition to ISO 9001:2015 is a smooth one.
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED TO BECOME A GOOD LEADER IN THE QUALITY PROFESSION?
The ability to lead effectively in the quality profession requires a number of key skills. These skills are highly sought after by employers;
- Ability to advocate quality across the business
- Able to make and stand by key decisions
- Knows how to use systems and fact based thinking
- Can inspire others by coaching and motivating
- Can plan effectively and efficiently
- Able to communicate effectively to people at all levels
- Respond’s well to suggestion and feedback
I hope you found this post useful and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the affect of leadership on your ISO 9001:2015 audit. Maybe you have already experienced the affects of leadership, good and bad during your transition and would like to share these with us?
Andy is the co-founder of WRK Training and is a man with a very particular set of skills. Skills he has acquired over a (not) very long career. Skills that include writing SEO content, building websites, making videos and setting up PPC campaigns. You can find out more about Andy by watching his meet the team video.