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CQI Competency Framework: Leadership

10 August 2015
Simon Feary explains how leadership; a principle at the core of the CQI competency framework, can promote engagement with the organisation or product/service delivery team in a meaningful way.

This month I’m focusing on the central part of the CQI Competency Framework – Leadership. 

Understanding the quality profession’s scope of responsibility and having the knowledge, skills and experience in each area across the remit is obviously the starting point of any competency framework.

We have defined this scope using our ‘Governance, Assurance and Improvement’ structure and populated the competency framework with the knowledge, skills and experiences the quality professional needs to demonstrate in order to be effective.

But one element is key to success:
‘Quality professional’s ability to engage with the organisation or product/service delivery team in a meaningful way.’
Asking the right questions and interacting in the most positive and effective ways are key attributes of any leader.
An important issue in the industry at the moment is the development of the next generation of quality professionals. One means of addressing this is to take on the role of a quality coach – demonstrating leadership attributes by communicating the profession’s purpose and value both within and beyond the boundaries of our workplace. This is especially important when directed at those considering a career in quality or starting their quality careers.

Assuming the role of the quality advocate is an essential part of the leadership role. Promoting the value and importance of our role to peers and demonstrating a desire to develop the capability of our teams to their full potential.

Communication is king

A quality professional needs to engage with their organisation effectively.

Everything we do requires engagement:

  • always asking questions
  • always seeking insights
  • be relentless in identifying objective measures of performance and risk
  • be passionate about identifying opportunities to improve. 

Being effective in the ‘critical friend’ role requires good communication skills

Everyone has the capacity to contribute usefully as part of the quality team – accepting that not everyone aspires to, nor is competent to, lead the team (especially when that team is involved in very high-level activities, for example in organisational strategy).

Arguably the most challenging part of the Competency Framework is the acceptance of a responsibility to engage, to influence and to lead. Quality professionals require a broad understanding of governance, assurance and improvement. But without demonstrating the leadership behaviours needed to convince, persuade and influence the risks, our potential to contribute will remain unrealised. This will be to the organisation’s loss but also the profession’s loss too.
While the Competency Framework defines the different dimensions of the leadership behaviours, as a collective we need to focus on two areas.

  1. Advocacy:

Selling a clear strategic vision for the role and value of the profession (within the context in which we operate).

  1. Motivation:

Inspiring others to take accountability for ensuring good governance, effective assurance, objective evaluation and a drive for improvement.
Not all quality professionals want to be chief executives but they still need to adopt leadership behaviours.

“If you want to be enquiring and act as the conscience of an organisation or team, if you want to be passionate about improvement, and if you want to be committed to achieving stakeholder satisfaction, you have to be a leader not a follower.”

Progressing your quality career

Progressing your leadership skills can be easier than you think.

Our IRCA approved courses help attendees to apply all principles of the CQI Competency Framework:

Quality professionals can verify how the course has proven to advance their careers and competence in the work place.
“Referencing the 2 day IRCA QMS Auditing Course I attended with NQA during a recent job interview, most definitely gave me the competitive edge I needed to secure this position. Once I’ve applied the skills I’ve learnt within my new role, I will then have the opportunity to move into other departments that would also benefit from ‘best practice’ management of processes and procedures. Ultimately it is our patients that will benefit the most from our service improvements.” Dorina Uwase, NHS