Quality Management Principle 2: Leadership

A leader is the one who knows the ways, goes the way and shows the way: John C. Maxwell


There are 2 schools of thoughts. Some say, ‘the leaders are born and are not made.’ Many other (Vince Lombardi) says ‘Leaders are made, they are not born.’ But in both cases, the expectation of qualities from them remains the same. It also depends, how these leaders are using their skills. Some use it on the right path and become leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. While some use it negatively and become Hitler!


The key objective is to understand the second principle of quality management, wherein the intent is to comprehend the role and importance of leadership in different spheres of the organization like customer, employees and processes.

Definitions: ISO 9000: 2015

Top Management (Cl 3.1.1): Person or group of people who directs and controls an organization at the highest level.

Detailed Information

The quality Management Principles are not specific to any one industry and can be applied to organizations of any size and type.

As per ISO 9000: 2015, clause 2.3, following are the 7 principles of Quality Management

  1. Customer Focus
  2. Leadership
  3. Engagement of People
  4. Process Approach
  5. Improvement
  6. Evidence-based decision making
  7. Relationship Management

 For the sustained success of the organization, the following are the 3 Key Factors, which leadership (top management) should focus:

Voice of the customer and relevant interested parties

  • Determine and evaluate the needs and expectation, relevant risk and opportunities
  • Effective Customer Focus resulting in customer satisfaction
  • Effective implementation of statutory and regulatory requirements

 Voice of the Employees

  • Defining clear Responsibility, Authority, Accountability and Escalation process
  • Provide opportunities to the people to develop competencies
  • Establish a culture of Trust, Integrity and Quality so that leaders at all levels can become role model
  • Motivate and recognize the contribution of employees

 Voice of the Processes

  • Defining Vision, Mission, Quality policy, Business Plan and related Objectives at all levels to meet customer requirements
  • Establish unity of purpose and direction at all levels of the organization
  • Provide and optimize the use of resources
  • Monitoring Process and results through effective Management Review Process

What benefits the organization can achieve?

  • Increased effectiveness and efficiency
  • Effective coordination
  • Flawless communication at all levels and with all relevant interested parties
  • Improvement in the competence of people to deliver desired results

Present Challenges:

  • How often top management is involved in the effective implementation of the Quality Management system?
  • How often leadership at all levels are empowered to make a decision?
  • How often top management feels that quality Management system can be utilized for the effectiveness of business processes, sustained success and customer satisfaction?


ISO 9000: 2015

ISO 9001: 2015

IATF 16949: 2016

This is the 84th article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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Raj Dev
Raj Dev
3 years ago

Leadership is the key to any organization but actually, in an Indian company, they don’t have this type of skills and if talking about leadership quality then there are 5 levels of leadership quality.

But it is grate articles, Thank So Much For Your Valuable Efforts

Raj Dev
Raj Dev
3 years ago

really it is a great article

3 years ago

In my case, I’m assisting my manager to look up for the overall ISO9001:2015 for the company. My manager still can’t convince the Top Management how important Quality Management System to the company. In a result, managers from other department think the ISO9001:2015 QMS is a burden to them and they actually don’t want to know about this ISO. Do you have any recommendation on this?