Quality Management Principle 2

The Introduction section of ISO 9001:2008, Quality management systems – Requirements, notes that the standard was developed based on the eight Quality Management Principles listed below. These principles can be used by top management as a framework to guide their organizations towards improved performance.

1. Customer focus
2. Leadership
3. Involvement of people
4. Process approach
5. System approach to management
6. Continual improvement
7. Factual approach to decision making
8. Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

The eight principles are briefly defined in ISO 9000:2005, Quality management systems – Fundamentals and vocabulary, and more fully described in Annex B of ISO 9004:2009, Managing for the sustained success of an organization – A quality management approach.

Principle 2: Leadership

Leaders establish unity of purpose and direction of the organization. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization’s objectives.


A key benefit of the leadership principle is that people will understand and be motivated towards the organization’s goals and objectives. Leaders will ensure activities are evaluated, aligned, and implemented in a unified way. And, miscommunication between levels of an organization will be minimized.


Applying the principle of leadership typically leads to:

  • Considering the needs of all interested parties including customers, owners, employees, suppliers, financiers, local communities and society as a whole
  • Establishing a clear vision of the organization’s future
  • Setting challenging goals and targets
  • Creating and sustaining shared values, fairness and ethical role models at all levels of the organization
  • Establishing trust and eliminating fear
  • Providing people with the required resources, training, and freedom to act with responsibility and accountability Inspiring, encouraging, and recognizing people’s contributions.

Three other articles in this May 2013 newsletter address principles 1, 3, and 4. The remaining quality management principles will be covered in the June 2013 newsletter.