Leadership Attributes - Getting buy-in on Quality from other functions

M

MikCra

#1
This forum focuses a lot of attention of how to cajole upper management into supporting Quality initiatives.

In these economic times, with ever-increasing focus on productivity metrics [throughput $$ per employee, etc], the days of a fully-staffed Quality department seem nostalgic. Lately, Quality Managers are expected to also wear the Lean hat, and pull double-duty by coordinating with the operations functions to drive out waste and cost.

I'd like to start a thread and turn the question around back to us Quality Manager types:

* What personality traits or leadership qualities must a Quality Manager possess in order to get other functions on board with Quality?

* Are there personality traits innate to the manager, or can they be learned and developed through practice?

Any thoughts and personal experiences are appreciated!
 
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G

George Weiss

#2
Hello new poster,

I offer you a first answer, and some off topic filler.
.
I like the answer of it is 50% genetics and 50% environment.
This works for many similar questions.
Knowing the goal of the job is very important, and so is having the tools to get there.
.
:topic:
I see you are ISO 17025. Are you the lucky one to review all the data sheets?
I have seen the good, the bad, and the very ugly when it comes to commercial calibration. The leadership of the company, and their true intentions are well known by the employees with some time with the firm. The quality department has the duty of police officer to an organization, which is in some cases, speeding between 9 and 11 mph over the speed limit all the time. To ask the boss for more time & money to advance invisible quality requirements, when all budgets have been cut is a very hard sell.
ISO 17025 when taken verbatim could bankrupt a small commercial lab. The standard document and the accreditation bodies, look at the 17025 paint-job applied to the firm. The point where the-tire-hits-the-road quality actions are left to the quality manager. The quality manager is left responsible with enforcing what your organization’s QMS has written that you will do. So what do you do? Point to requirements, and offer suggested courses of action, and of course the "NC", (non-conformance). Almost all of the enforcement actions of 17025 within your company will gain a form of intangible quality beyond the visual CERT and basic Test Report. I am not saying the effort is worthless, but one potential employer I turned down pointed to the priority in my planned field service position. He insisted that a dozen box of donuts with our company’s logo labeled on top was a top factor in keeping and reminding the customer of our service to their company. This was their form of quality. How is your company’s quality health?
:topic: Much better comments to follow, I am sure............
 

AnaMariaVR2

Trusted Information Resource
#3
Welcome new poster:bigwave:

...quality is always a difficult goal to achieve. During a recession it is more important than ever that efforts, resources, performance and management's effectiveness & leadership be measured accurately and fairly. And so, the metrics developed to measure in the “good times” may not serve fairly in the “bad times.”
 
M

Migre

#4
* What personality traits or leadership qualities must a Quality Manager possess in order to get other functions on board with Quality?
It will vary from person to person though I will suggest that effective qualities will include good communication skills, calmness, tenacity, inquisitiveness and the ability not to take criticism/feedback personally.

* Are there personality traits innate to the manager, or can they be learned and developed through practice?
A mixture of both. Like many others I 'fell into quality' by accident (or so I thought). However, upon reflection, I have always had very high personal standards and a thirst for knowledge which means I like to be involved in all kinds of different pursuits. With that in mind, perhaps it wasn't as much of an accident as I initially thought. In any walk of life though, there is always something else to learn and somewhere else to develop. This is especially true in quality. Why else do we come here to the Cove every day?
 
B

Bill Pflanz

#5
Maybe the problem is that you are focusing on personal characteristics of a quality manager rather than the outcome. Buy in from department managers is no different than from senior management - you have to sell what they are interested in. You are not doing "double-duty by coordinating with the operations functions to drive out waste and cost" that is your primary function. If you are not there to help them with driving out waste and cost what service are you really providing?

That is not to say that you do not need certain traits and leadership.

* What personality traits or leadership qualities must a Quality Manager possess in order to get other functions on board with Quality?* Are there personality traits innate to the manager, or can they be learned and developed through practice?

You will need a reasonable knowledge of each department to really assist them. Listening to them works great in finding out where they think the problems are. Working side by side with them is needed not just expecting them to know what to do on their own. Helping them solve one problem works better than identifying lots of problems with no effort towards solution. That will take patience and a lot of salesmanship on your part. Once they see how quality methods work, you will become more of a facilitator than a doer.

Bill Pflanz
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#6
IMHO, you need to be flexible. Stop trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Be willing to modify "quality" thinking to that which actually advances the goal of the organization. And stop talking about "quality" as if it is something seperate from the organization. A true quality focused organizatin doesn't have to use the term -- they just follow what they consider good business practices.
 
S

SuperGirl

#7
* What personality traits or leadership qualities must a Quality Manager possess in order to get other functions on board with Quality?
Good comuincation skills are a must! But, I believe there has to be a desire to constantly learn new things and the ability to teach others and all the qualities that go into that. Also, Quality Manager have to willing to stand firm, yet also be flexible and to know the apprapriate times to do either.

* Are there personality traits innate to the manager, or can they be learned and developed through practice?
While, its great if these come natural, I can be learned. But, it might be rough as you learn.
 
A

amanbhai

#8
IMHO, you need to be flexible. Stop trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Be willing to modify "quality" thinking to that which actually advances the goal of the organization. And stop talking about "quality" as if it is something seperate from the organization. A true quality focused organizatin doesn't have to use the term -- they just follow what they consider good business practices.
imho, most of the quality professional talk about the quality as it is something separate from the organization!
 
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