Involved senior management are a key requirement for an effective quality management system and a continuous improvement program. A multi competence approach is important and management must not only demonstrate intelligence but must also be able to demonstrate competence in a variety of skills in order to be able to influence the quality and direction of a company.
Managers who have a key role in an organisation's quality control and who also want to improve their ability to develop and implement strategies in the quality management process should consider training in the following key skill areas:
- Technical Skills - understanding the company as a whole goes hand in hand with understanding the factors that influence implementation of tasks within the company, how these tasks interrelate, the required technical competence, the ability to solve problems and to anticipate potential problem areas. Together, these skills allow managers to intuitively plan quality strategies that ensure effective results.
- Reporting Skills - another important skill is the ability to gather and analyse quantitative and qualitative information in order to track, measure and predict trends and outcomes. This ensures that decisions are based on fact, and that processes are planned accordingly using the information that is collected.
- People Skills - a good manager needs to understand what motivates people to perform their jobs and to contribute to the implementation of quality management strategies. These skills include empathy, coaching skills, influencing skills, inter-personal skills, verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
- Operational Skills - these skills allow managers to see work processes as the aggregation of related actions and tasks. Planning, process alignment, improvement strategies, waste reduction strategies and the ability to provide staff with a process approach through the definition of rules, review and clarity at all stages of quality planning and implementation.
- Thinking Skills - it is not enough for managers to simply have 'by the book' thinking skills. Out of the box thinking skills are also essential in order to see the bigger picture as well as its component parts. The ability to visualise change, see new opportunities, apply ideas to goals, define future goals and experiment with strategies are all essential parts of the thinking skills required for an effective management process.
Pro-active leadership will play a key role in helping an organisation achieve the best results. But this leadership must be imbued with the above described skills as each will play a vital role in providing the best resources to plan and implement quality management strategies.