8 Quality Leadership Characteristics: How Do You Score?

Score yourself to see how effective a leader you are and where there's room for you to improve

December 1, 2015
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Photo: Lucas / Pexels

Those following the teachings of quality gurus such as Deming, Juran and Feigenbaum and implementing quality culture, tools and techniques are following approaches that tend toward leadership traits that include, empowerment, a focus on people a strong strategic viewpoint and an awareness of integrating different disciplines. Other traits include strong integrity and an awareness of social responsibilities.


Score yourself between 1-10 for each statement listed below.

1 = this does not reflect me and 10 = I consistently do this, this accurately reflects me.


Quality Leadership Characteristics

1. Values: Integrity, Trust and Culture

Q1.1 My staff trusts me and regularly seeks my guidance

Q1.2 I lead my department based on a set of values


2. Vision: Strategic Focus

Q2.1 I have a strong strategic awareness and abilities

Q2.2 I have a vision for where we should be going as an organization


3. Inspiration: Charisma, Communications Skills, Role Model, Motivational and Mentor

Q3.1 I inspire and motivate groups with my charismatic approaches

Q3.2 I act as a role model and mentor. I coach many colleagues


4. Innovative: Change Agent

Q4.1 I like change and constantly am driving for new business models

Q4.2 I regularly come up with new ideas, methods, solutions or approaches


5. Systems View: Interactive

Q5.1 I am vigilant at breaking down silos and work closely with other departments and organizations

Q5.2 I create integrated systems for example integrating quality, safety and environmental management


6. Empowering: Focus on Employees

Q6.1 I have high levels of employee satisfaction with my team

Q6.2 I promote and empower teams and develop leaders


7. Customer Focus: Society

Q7.1 Social responsibility is a key area I promote and actively link to our work

Q7.2 I promote a strong focus on the customer


8. Business and Quality Knowledge

Q8.1 I have a strong understanding of a wide range of quality tools and techniques and have successfully applied these

Q8.2 I have a wide range of knowledge and applied experience with operations, marketing, finance, human relations, and other key functions


Calculate the total points you have scored out of a possible 160.


0-50  You have significant opportunities for improvement as a quality leader

51-99  You have balanced abilities and can improve these further

100-160  You are a well functioning quality leader


It is the combination of the above characteristics that is unique and creates impact. If a vision is created but cannot be well communicated or if one cannot inspire others to achieve it, it will not be fulfilled. Or one can be innovative but may not have the business or technical knowledge to implement it, again it will not be achieved. Also doing all of this with core values as a guide ensures the positive impact on society. Finally, it is the integrative approach to balance and coordinate that leverages the real impact of a Quality Leader.



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Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.


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