Quality is often seen as a task that management must keep a track off. Managers, on the other hand, expect their teams to provide high-quality work. Employees, on their part, either lack quality or believe that the only type of work that they deliver is high-quality work. The truth is, there is no one department or one individual that is responsible for the quality of work in an organization.
Quality is a team activity, and unless every member within an organization understands the importance of quality, it will suffer. But introducing an established quality process within a company is easier said than done; employees offer resistance when they perceive the quality improvement processes are being forced upon them. This is where leadership comes in. Here is a look at the role leadership can play in boosting quality management in your organization.
Leadership need to engage
Employee engagement is essential to embed a culture of quality. But driving engagement with quality is easier said than done. There are bound to be employees who backslide, management who get lax, and suppliers who fail to provide important credentials. So, how can leadership get staff, employees, and the entire organization to engage with quality? Here are some methods to engage your organization’s workforce:
- Invite employees to provide their opinions on how to ensure quality does not suffer.
- Make time for mentoring.
- Reward high-quality performance.
- Improve accountability.
- Clarify goals and responsibilities.
- Provide ongoing training and support.
Leadership needs to communicate the importance of quality
There must be a unified understanding throughout the organization of what ‘quality’ stands for in your organization. A clear understanding of quality will lead to everyone within the organization working toward the same goals. Create a communication plan to explain the value of quality. A communication plan will help you identify who you need to reach, how you will reach them, and tell them what they need to know. It will also help clarify the roles of individual employees in quality management, get input from stakeholders, and gauge areas that need strengthening.
But before going through the communication planning process, the management and leadership must have a clear definition of what the culture of quality is within the organization.
Leadership needs to lead by example
The attitude, beliefs, and behavior of leaders will influence their teams; hence, leadership must lead by example. Leading by example is all about the leader setting the tone. The quality control department, along with the leadership team, must diligently follow guidelines and procedures that are set up by the organization. When leaders take the initiative to lead with responsibility, employees are inspired and demonstrate higher levels of engagement and produce better quality work.
A leader’s work does not end with putting employees on the right track to producing quality work. From here on, leadership needs to regularly follow-up on quality management and provide employees with feedback.
Leadership needs to support initiatives
One of the initiatives that support quality management is training. Training comes at a price – it’s costly and time-consuming – but it cannot be avoided. Leadership must set aside an ample budget to ensure employees are thoroughly trained. Dedicating time, space, and budget for training initiatives is a must.
Leadership beyond Formal Structure
Both formal and informal leaders should be involved in the development of a quality culture. While formal leaders have formal organizational authority to influence others, informal leaders possess skills and talents to initiate change and influence and lead employees within an organization to work jointly toward common goals such as a common quality culture. Informal leaders, unlike formal leaders, rely on camaraderie and shared self-interest, listens to all the various points, and gains respect among employees through a demonstration of their capabilities.
A team comprising of both formal and informal leaders will be able to lead, direct, coerce, and influence employees to inculcate the quality culture of your organization.
Leadership has a role to play in several aspects of an organization, and one of those aspects is to inculcate a culture of quality. But to be able to use their powers to create this type of change within the organization, organizations must empower their leaders with the right resources to make change possible.