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Turning supervisors into LEADers

  • Published
  • By Airman First Class Kimberly L. Mueller
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

The new three-day intensive Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar completed its first class Nov. 7, here.

LEADS teaches communication skills that allow supervisors to not only lead their subordinates, but to motivate them and create a more productive work environment.

“The goal of the course is to help our supervisors better utilize their resources and skills to create more positive supervisors, units and people,” said Capt. Jeremy Jinkerson, 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron LEADS working group chair. “This is an opportunity for leaders and existing supervisors to really enhance their skills in communication and be effective and emotionally intelligent with their troops.”

Rather than a course made of textbooks and presentations, LEADS incorporated active learning techniques such as open discussions between the facilitator and students. LEADS was created through rebranding the Front-line Supervisor Course with the active learning elements found in technical training schools.

“If they have evolved training, tested it and it worked, then why wouldn’t we use it in other courses?” said Capt. Daria Coulthurst, 81st Medical Support Squadron LEADS course organizer. “We shouldn’t be holding people back, we should be empowering them and using that information to do better.”

The test group chosen for the course consisted of a cross-sectional slice of the base which ranged from those chosen by their chain of command up to the group commanders.

“No matter what your level is, whether you are active duty or civilian, if you supervise someone we want you to be able to have and build on these skills,” said Coulthurst. “It’s not going to be a briefing, it’s not going to be someone teaching you, it’s you sharing your life lessons and experiences with other students and showing all the skills you’ve learned, how you possess them and how they’ve impacted your career as a supervisor.”

Through the adaptation of active learning explored by multiple training schools, the Air Force is incorporating more active learning environments to seminars, such as LEADS, to build supervisors into more effective leaders to strengthen the force the Air Force needs.