Leadership: Is your ladder leaning against the right wall?
“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” —Stephen Covey
It can be a lonely place ensuring your business works for you; of course, you know what you’re doing, or you wouldn’t still be there, but how useful would it be, to be able to involve an experienced and confidential outsider into your thinking process. It can be immensely powerful, and that’s why we do what we do.
I’d like to share with you some thoughts about the various International Management Standards, which now have a requirement for ‘Leadership’.
The Quality Management Standard, for example, defines this in 10 action steps, many of which could be considered “managing” tasks. However, one step makes the leadership element truly clear. “Top Management shall demonstrate leadership by engaging, directing and supporting persons to contribute to the effectiveness of the quality management system”.
In practice, we have found that the auditors from the Certified Bodies do not get too excited about Leadership. Provided you can demonstrate that you are applying the 10 action steps.
Are we all missing something? It is true that leadership has made appearances within the general information of the Standards for some time. But the change to making it a requirement that you SHALL demonstrate leadership is recent. Could it be that the ISO Technical Committee, when they made these changes had some additional benefits in mind that leadership would address better than traditional management? Who knows? So far nothing seems to have emerged from any of the oversight bodies.
You will probably be safe to conclude, that as long as you can demonstrate that you carry out the 10 action steps, your certification is secure.
Nonetheless, some of our clients have already started leadership programmes. A planned management buy-out wanted us to assist them in re-visiting the management of their processes to implement more active leadership at ‘grassroots’. Another client wanted the ‘quality tools’ to be more actively used to improve their processes. This also required some leadership support for the process team leaders. Yet a third client, who had appointed a new senior manager, sought our help in providing mentoring in leadership, rather than a more traditional training course.
So, in this rapidly changing and competitive world, is there some leadership benefit you need that would ensure that your ladder is leaning against the right wall!
If you would like to expand your thinking process, then contact us on:
Tel: 01284 330400
We work with small to medium size businesses across the East Anglia Region.