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ISO 9001 8 Principles - Leadership

Leadership is about establishing unity of purpose and direction in an organization. It also involves creating and maintaining an environment where people can be fully involved in achieving the organization’s objectives. Therefore, someone has to get this started, to set the direction, to strategize, to plan and implement the business idea, to find the means and to provide the resources.


In managing performance, leadership is crucial because leaders are purposeful and result-oriented. They are oriented towards achieving desired targets in the specific field. It is also important to know that such orientation is learnt. In other words, leadership can be developed. To manage an organizational performance, leaders are needed at different levels and functions in the organization.




A good leadership is important to influence and motivate others to follow him/her into areas of uncertainty. What it means here is that the crucial leadership role is concerned with change. In times of uncertainty, change is the only constant to the organization’s survival and hence longevity. As changes bring anxiety to employees, a good leader must help the people to know the organization through its values, guiding principles and underlying philosophy in such times.


Under the ISO 9001 requirements, the leadership role is defined as management responsibility in Clause 5, “Management Responsibility”. The standard requires that top management to provide evidence of its commitment to the development and implementation of the quality management system and continually improving its effectiveness. Therefore the top management holds five key responsibilities:

A good leader must be passionate about the objective of the organization and to achieve the desired target. This requirement is stated in ISO 2001 Clause 5.3 “Quality Policy”, that the top management is responsible to establish, document and communicate to all employees and other interests parties.


The company’s Quality Policy is tool for expressing top management’s intention on quality management performance. The requirements of Quality Policy are:


Another evident to prove top management’s involvement is conducting the management reviews at planned intervals to review the performance and changes of the Quality Management System. The ISO 9001 clause 5.6 “Management Review” stated clearly on what are the requirements of a management review, which includes the review of the existing policy and objectives.


Evidence of management reviews can be found in the meeting minutes, the 7 key items review inputs which stated in ISO 9001 clause 5.6.2 “Review Input” are necessary discussion items in management review. The leader’s responsibilities in management review is stated in ISO 9001 clause 5.6.3 “Review Output” which cover the decisions and actions to be taken related to improving the effectiveness of the quality management system and its processes, the improvement of the product or services related to customer requirements, and evaluation and provision resources covers human resources, finances, MIS and etc.


How a leader creates and maintains the environment for employees can become fully involved in achieving the organization’s goal is more complicated to assess. Generally, these soft requirements are expressed as espoused statements of the organization’s philosophy and core values. The practices of these espoused values are difficult to document or record down except through constant communication. Nevertheless, these are very important in building a culture that supports organization’s performance.  


Communication is another key function of a leader. Leader has to communicate to all employees on the importance of meeting customer requirements and other requirements such as legal, regulatory that affect the use of the product or service. Evidence records come from the various communication channels in quality management system such as frequent periodic meetings carried out at different hierarchical and functional levels, for example, monthly top management meeting, division meeting and etc.



Applying the Principle of Leadership in ISO 9001

Applying Principle of Leadership In ISO 9001

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