Leadership is given a lot of importance in ISO 9001:2015 as leaders have the authority to delegate tasks and provide resources within the organization. Hence, without their support, the efficiency of the Quality Management System (QMS) can be compromised. Moreover, leaders have the ability to motivate the entire organization towards a common goal, making it a very critical skill in today’s business world.
Without the support of leaders, the QMS will fail. This article will answer all your queries related to ISO 9001 leadership and commitment.
Difference between management and leadership
ISO describes leadership as a group of people with direct control of an organization, residing at the highest level. To distinguish between management and leadership, understand that management is focused mostly on processes whereas leadership is more about behavior and capabilities.
Management utilizes tangible metrics such as effective planning, inter-professional communication, and organizational systems to deliver their outputs. In contrast, leadership relies mostly on intangible capabilities like decision-making, inspiration, trust, transformational capabilities, attitude, and personal skills.
Leaders are the ones that have the ability to help materialize management system objectives by aligning the entire organization and motivating them towards a common goal, by making them feel like a valuable part of the organization.
ISO 9001 and leadership commitment
The leadership clause in ISO 9001 has three subsections, namely, clause 5.1 which talks about leadership and commitment, 5.2 which talks about policy and 5.3 which talks about organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities.
The previous versions of ISO 9001 focused on management, whereas the 2015 version emphasizes on leadership. This means that the top management now has to showcase accountability and greater involvement in the organization’s QMS by working to integrate the requirements into the company’s core business processes.
This will help to ensure that the management system is achieving its intended outcomes. Additionally, the management must allocate the necessary resources to support the employees in performing their tasks well.
This goes beyond providing the physical resources but also the intangible resources that will heighten employee awareness and augment employee involvement. In order to learn more about ISO 9001 and leadership commitment and succeed in its implementation, we suggest you use ISO consulting services before doing anything.
Clause 5.1 leadership and commitment
The ISO 9001:2015 standard mandates that leaders must provide direction for quality management within the company by establishing strategic quality management policies, directives, and objectives that are consistent with the capabilities of their company. Similarly, one of the most technical works is promoting awareness of the processes and guiding people to implement them.
The concept of quality management needs to be brought into the routine work. In fact, the QMS can only achieve its intended outcomes if the leaders of the organization identify the key areas for achieving the objectives, prepare the action plans, guide the people to work as per the plan, review the actions and results and finally take suitable corrective actions.
The leaders in any organization are the driving force to remove obstacles, educate people, encourage better performance and recognize the highest performers. They are role models in implementing the system. If the leaders are not committed and do not work as per the system, it cannot be expected that others in the organization will do the same.
Customer Focus and Relationship
Clause 5.1.2 talks about customer focus. In order for the QMS to achieve its intended outcomes, customer relationships should be effectively managed. Only the top management can ensure that there is an effective communication process between the organization and the customers discussing, reviewing, taking action and taking responsibility on any issues presented by the clients. You can get more information about this with the help of an ISO 9001 consultant.
Clause 5.2 quality policy
The leaders of the organization are responsible for establishing the quality policy and communicating it across the organization. ISO 9001:2015 mandates that the leaders of the organization must establish, implement and maintain a quality policy that aligns appropriately with both the purpose and the context of the organization, supporting the business move forward towards its strategic goals.
Additionally, the quality policy must provide a vision on quality management for the organization. The quality policy must reflect the organization’s core values and strengthen the company’s commitment to better quality management. Additionally, in order to be materialized, everyone within the organization must not only be aware of the intricacies of the quality policy but should also understand the manner in which their granular tasks add to the bigger picture. The standard also urges that the quality policy should be periodically reviewed by the top management based on the changes in the context of the organization.
Clause 5.3 organizational roles, responsibilities, and authorities.
This sub-clause requires top management to provide adequate resources and assign responsibilities necessary to implement the QMS effectively. The purpose of this clause is to ensure that every employee within the organization understands their role with respect to the implementation of the QMS and helps to maintain the focus on customer requirements.
A simple way of delegating responsibilities and authorities for the effective functioning of the QMS is to define the organizational structure and associated hierarchies by using organizational maps, procedures, and work instructions. The structure and responsibilities need to be maintained via orientation, programs, training, meetings or work instructions. This will help to ensure that everyone in the organization remains on the same page.
ISO 9001 leadership and commitment; One step to obtain ISO 9001 certification
ISO 9001 emphasizes leadership as it is the leaders that can provide the resources and the motivation to drive everyone towards organizational goals related to quality management. Clause 5 focuses on leadership commitment by outlining the general responsibilities, how the leaders can establish and communicate the quality policies, and how they should assign the organizational roles, responsibilities, and authorities to further supplement the efficiency of the QMS.
To get more information about ISO 9001 clauses and to register an ISO consultation request, you can enter the ISOCouncil.com.au website right now. Professional, committed, and experienced experts of the ISO Council will answer your questions.