ISO 9000 defines the 7 Quality Management Principles. These are fundamental to a successful quality management system (QMS). Quality Management Principle 2 is Leadership, lets take a look at what that means.

Quality Management Principle 2 – Leadership


Leaders at all levels establish unity of purpose and direction and create conditions in which people are engaged in achieving the quality objectives of the organization.


Creation of unity of purpose, direction and engagement enable an organization to align its strategies, policies, processes and resources to achieve its objectives.

Key Benefits

Some potential key benefits are:

  • increased effectiveness and efficiency in meeting the organization’s quality objectives;
  • better coordination of the organization’s processes;
  • improved communication between levels and functions of the organization;
  • development and improvement of the capability of the organization and its people to deliver desired results

What do we mean by Leadership?

The requirements specified in ISO 9001, especially Clause 5 Leadership places the emphasis on leadership, not just management. What does this look like?

Representation of the structure of ISO 9001 in the PDCA cycle

In Clause 5.1, top management have to make sure that the requirements of the management system are integrated into the organization’s business processes and that the policy and objectives are compatible with the strategic direction and context of the organization.

Organizational context – Interested parties, scope, internal/external issues, values

To understand context you must “Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties”. Potential interested parties below.

As well as being communicated internally, the policy has to be made available to relevant interested parties. The policy also needs to provide a framework for setting quality objectives.

Authorities will need to be assigned, communicated and understood, and not just responsibilities for relevant roles. Top Management has to assign the responsibility and authority for; ensuring conformance; reporting on management system performance; promoting customer focus; ensuring the integrity of the QMS during changes etc. and processes are delivering intended outputs.

Simple “line-of-site” process leadership should follow (purpose, mission etc. and its QMS)

  1. Organization’s purpose?
  2. Intended outcome(s) of its QMS?
  3. Issues (internal and external) relevant to 1 and which affects 2?
  4. Needs and expectations relevant interested parties to 2?
  5. Scope of its QMS?
  6. Quality Policy?
  7. Planning: Determine risks and opportunities (relevant to 1-6)?
  8. Planning to take action (relevant to 7)?
  9. Quality objectives and planning (relevant to 7)?
  10. Support requirements (relevant to the above)?
  11. Plan, implement and control the processes (relevant to the above)?
  12. Performance evaluation and improvement (relevant to the above)?

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