Management & Leadership

Management & LeadershipAre you ready to get started studying to become a Certified Quality Engineer?

If so, you’re at the right place!  The Management & Leadership section is the 1st of 6 main pillars within the Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) Body of Knowledge (BoK).  This pillar is further broken down into 9 main topics, which include:

It’s important to remember that while the Management & Leadership topic is 1/6th of the total material within the body of knowledge, it actually only comprises 15 questions out of the total 160 or 10% of the exam.  I think this is an unfortunate truth.

This is unfortunate because many of the topics within this pillar are absolutely critical to your success as a quality engineer – these include the important soft skill (communication, leadership & facilitation) along with the hard skills like supplier management & the Quality Management System.

Before you start studying – check out this pre-quiz that I put together for you – it’s 45 questions that cover all 9 topics within this pillar. This pre-quiz can help you identify & focus on your your weaknesses. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find another 45 question post-quiz, that’s a bit more challenging!

Management & Leadership Overview Quiz #1

Don’t forget to check out the 2nd Management & Leadership Quiz at the bottom of this page!

Quality Philosophies & Foundations

This main topic is a combination of two sub-topics.

The first is the evolution of quality principles & techniques. The second sub-topic is dedicated to the guru’s who’ve contributed to the growth & expansion of the Quality profession over time.

This first subtopic unpacks the history and maturation of the Quality Principles & techniques that you’ll learn throughout the entire CQE Body of knowledge.  This section then breaks down the stages of development that the Quality Engineering field has progressed through:

  • The Inspection Era
  • The Statistical Control Era
  • The Quality Assurance Era
  • The Strategic Management Era

This section also includes an introduction to many of the quality concepts that you’ll study in more detail later (Lean, Six Sigma, TOC, Statistical Process Control, Kaizen, etc).

Next, this topic reveals the history and contributions of some of the Quality Professions top contributors – shown below:

  • Edwards Deming
  • Walter A Shewhart
  • Genichi Taguchi
  • Kaoru Ishikawa
  • Philip B. Crosby
  • Joseph M Juran

I’ve also included a copy of the ASQ CQE Body of Knowledge Learning Objectives for The Quality Philosophies & Foundations:

  • Explain how modern quality has evolved from quality control through statistical process control (SPC), to total quality management (TQM) and leadership principles (Deming’s 14 points) and how quality concept has helped form various continuous improvement tools including lean, six sigma and the theory of constraints, etc (Remember)

The Quality Management System (QMS)

The next topic is an overview of The Quality Management System (QMS) which is simply a structured approach to the management of Quality that has been developed and refined through time as the Quality profession has matured.

This topic is broken down into 3 sections to mirror the ASQ CQE BOK Learning Objectives for this section which are:

  1. Identify and define top management’s responsibility for the quality management system (QMS), including establishing policies and objectives, setting organization-wide goals, and supporting quality initiatives.
  1. Define, describe, and use various deployment tools in support of the QMS: benchmarking, stakeholder identification and analysis, and performance measurement tools & project management tools such as SWOT analysis, PERT chart, Gantt charts, critical path method (CPM), and resource allocation.
  1. Identify and define the basic elements of a quality information system (QIS), including who will contribute data, the kind of data to be managed, who will have access to the data, the level of flexibility for future information needs, and data analysis.

ASQ Code of Ethics for Professional Conduct

This topic is very simple – to be a CQE you must uphold a high level of integrity and ethics.

Below is the Learning Objectives for the ASQ Code of Ethics from the ASQ CQE Body of Knowledge:

  • Determine appropriate behavior in situations requiring ethical decisions. (Evaluate)

To help you better understand the code of ethics, this section covers the 3 key relationships that all CQE’s are required to maintain and within those relationships, the specific articles & principles that you must uphold to become a CQE, and stay certified.

Leadership Principles and Techniques

This topic is dedicated to the various principles and techniques for leading quality initiatives & developing the teams required to support the Quality Initiatives discussed in the previous topic.

As you’ll learn Leadership & Teams are both required to implement quality initiatives, and quality initiatives are what move a company forward toward success.

You’ll learn the role leaders play in a quality initiative – to develop the “why” (Vision) and the “How, when, where, who & when” (Goals, Objectives and Action Plan) & the role of the team (to execute against the action plan and make the vision a reality).

The Leadership section also includes a discussion regarding the basics of human motivation which include topics like:

  • The Hawthorne Experiments
  • McGregor’s Theory X & Y
  • Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs
  • Herzberg’s Hygiene Theory

As a Quality Engineer you also must be aware of the different types of team & the different purposes that those teams exist for. You must also be aware of how these teams progress through the five team development stages into productive groups that are capable of efficiently implementing a quality initiative.

Below is the Learning Objective for The Leadership Principles & Techniques from the ASQ CQE Body of Knowledge:

  • Describe and apply the various principles and techniques for developing and organizing teams and leading quality initiatives. (Analyze)

Facilitation Principles and Techniques

This topic is dedicated to the Facilitation principles and techniques that are often required from a Quality Engineer who’s part of a work team.

This topic unpacks the idea that a facilitator is not truly responsible for the final outcome – they’re simply focused on the process used to make the decisions that create the outcome.

This topic covers many of the different facilitation tools:

  • Brainstorming
  • Force Field Analysis
  • Nominal Group Technique
  • Multivoting
  • Conflict Resolution

These tools can be utilized to generate ideas during problem solving, analyze the factors contributing to an outcome and make team decisions on tough topics.

Below is the Learning Objectives for The Facilitation Principles & Techniques from the ASQ CQE Body of Knowledge:

  • Define & Describe the Facilitators role and responsibilities on a team. Define and apply various tools used with teams, including brainstorming, nominal group technique, conflict resolution & force field analysis (Analyze)

Communication Skills

Keeping in line with the previous two soft skills, the next topic is dedicated to your Communication Skills.

You’ll learn that your communication skills are your primary tool required for persuasion, collaboration, influence, negotiation, motivation, inspiration & informing and that these tools can often be the difference between success and failure.

You’ll also learn about the different communication methods & tools which include:

  • Active Listening
  • Non-verbal communication
    • Tone & Body Language
  • Persuasive Speaking
    • Ethos, Logos & Pathos
  • Using Questions Effectively
  • Feedback as a communication tool

Lastly, this section covers the potential communication barriers that can result in under-communication or miss-communication and a tool that you can use – the communication plan, in order to break down those barriers and communication more effectively.

Below is the Learning Objective for The Communication Skills from the ASQ CQE Body of Knowledge:

  • Define & Distinguish between various communication methods for delivering information and messages in a variety of situations across all levels of the organization (Analyze).

Customer Relations

This topic is also very simply and it’s dedicated to the idea that everything your company does should start and end with the customer in mind. Period. Customer satisfaction IS WHY your company exists!

And your job as a quality engineer is to continually remind the organization of this simple fact.

The Customer Relations topic will introduce you to the tools and techniques to ensuring that your product/service is aligned with your customers ever changing needs & expectations.

This section breaks down the entire process from identifying WHO your customers are and what their needs/expectations are to the tools that can be used to translate those needs into product features that meets those needs.

This section also breaks down 3 primary tools that can be used to understand your customers needs, which include:

  • The Kano Model
  • Juran’s Classification of Customer Needs
  • Customer Defined Value

Lastly, Quality Function Deployment (QFD), or the House of Quality, is featured as one of the primary design tools that can be used to translate your customer needs into product features to satisfy your customer needs.

Below is the Learning Objective for The Customer Relations portion of the ASQ CQE Body of Knowledge:

  • Define, apply & analyze the results of customer relation measures such as quality function deployment (QFD), customer satisfaction surveys, etc. (Analyze)

Supplier Management

Supplier Quality or Supplier Management has become a more important part of the Quality Management Process as organizations are becoming more reliant on suppliers.

You’ll learn that Supplier Management or Supplier Quality is both a process and a collection of tool meant to achieve the following goals:

  • to ensure that your organization is only partnering with the best suppliers.
  • to ensure that your final product achieves the highest level of performance for your customers.
  • to ensure that you’re engaged with your suppliers in continuous improvement activities for the benefit of both organizations.

This lesson on Supplier Quality is broken down into 3 parts:

  1. First is the WHY of supplier management which includes a short history lesson of supplier management (supplier quality) and the recent improvements made in this area.
  1. Second is an overview of the supplier management process This process covers all the pre-production work required to evaluate, qualify and select the proper supplier, to the post-production work required to monitor, improve and certify suppliers.
  1. Last but not least is an overview of the tools and techniques that are routinely used throughout the supplier management process to assist you in ensuring quality when dealing with your suppliers.

This includes Supplier Audits, Supplier Surveys and your Receiving Inspection process – all which contribute to a larger tool, the Supplier Scorecard.

Below is the Learning Objective for The Supplier Management portion of the ASQ CQE Body of Knowledge:

  • Define, select, and apply various supplier management techniques including supplier qualification, certification, evaluation, ratings, and performance improvements.

Barriers to Quality Improvement

Lastly, for your business to become successful or remain successful, you will need to continuously improve & grow.

This change can often be difficult and you may face resistance or barrier to this improvement.

To be successful at implementing change, you need to be aware of the barriers you might face and how to overcome those barriers. Addressing these barriers will allow you to achieve a rapid pace of change, improvement and innovation.

You’ll learn about two different approaches for change. First is the QMS Process itself which is an effective tool at addressing many of the deficiencies of management and leadership that lead to barriers to quality improvement.

The second approach to change is the bottom-up perspective which requires that you motivate managers & leaders to change through effective communication of the benefits of change (money).

Below is the Learning Objective for the Barriers to Quality Improvement portion of the ASQ CQE Body of Knowledge:

  • Identify barriers to quality improvement, their causes and impact, and describe methods for overcoming them. (Analyze)

YouTube Videos

Below is a youtube playlist that i’ve put together for you that covers many of the topics within the Management & Leadership pillar of the body of knowledge. Enjoy!



The Management and Leadership pillar of the ASQ CQE BoK (Whew) is a great place for you to begin your journey down the path of certification. It provides an excellent view of the history of Quality and how it has shaped the way we view Quality today.

Many core concepts that are later discussed in detail are introduced during this section; concepts like & product development, the Quality Management System & Continuous Improvement.

The Management and Leadership pillar also includes a very strong dose of some of the soft skills (Communication, Leadership, Facilitation) required to lead a quality initiative in today’s corporate environment. These skills are extremely important to any CQE’s success and should be an focus of your personal continuous improvement throughout your career.

As promised, I’ve also included a 44 question post-study quiz to help you gauge your current understanding – good luck!

Management & Leadership Overview Quiz #2

Ready to see the next Major Pillars: Quality System, Product & Process Design, Product & Process Control

Have a comment question or concern? Please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.