Supervisor 101: leadership course builds upon ALS

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kristine Gruwell
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. — Team Little Rock is advancing leadership development through the creation of a one-week Supervisor 101 course, designed to meet the needs of Airmen who have recently completed Airman Leadership School at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Airman Leadership School is the first level of the Enlisted Professional Military Education continuum, which over time, has evolved their curriculum to help soon-to-be NCOs discover their personal leadership styles.

“Over the last two years, ALS has evolved from a compliance-based format to a concept development format,” said Master Sgt. William Chesnutt, 19th Force Support Squadron ALS commandant. “We’re getting after the “Why” of leadership more than the “How.” This shift is essential to building the adaptable supervisors we need today.” 

However, with the shift in syllabus, consistent feedback from recent ALS graduates was that they desired more hands-on training and technical writing skills.

“ALS is a 24-day course, and we can only fit so much into it. We simply have less time to address the more tactical elements of supervision like writing letters of counseling, enlisted performance reports, award packages, decorations, and other technical writing documents” said Chesnutt. “This Supervisor 101 course is intended to bridge that gap, developing supervisors who can write effectively, who can execute their responsibilities of caring for and develop Airmen competently.”

The evolving needs of the force drove TLR Leaders to develop the Supervisory 101 course, including objectives and content requested by Airmen, to ensure they are given the training needed to be equipped and effective leaders.

“Every lesson added in this course was created based on feedback TLR leadership received from new NCOs,” said Chief Master Sgt. Steven Hart, 19th AW command chief. “We collected feedback from newly promoted NCOs on how prepared they were when they first entered their unit as a supervisor and asked how we could help better equip them to take care of Airmen.”

In addition to technical writing skills, Airmen are given hands-on experience with dorm inspections, feedback sessions, and accessing Air Force systems such as; bullet writing, recognition, the Assignment Management System and Virtual Personnel Center.  They also step through the foundational information regarding deployment processes, requirements and systems, and even participate in strategic mission planning for varying career fields.

The lessons are taught by volunteer senior NCOs assigned to LRAFB, providing Airmen with a venue to learn from and engage in open discussions with experienced leaders. 

“Giving these Airmen the ability to get out any apprehensions they have and ask questions candidly is something I highly appreciate about this course,” Hart said. “When I first became a supervisor, those conversations would have allowed me to walk into my first role as a supervisor with much more confidence and ease.”

Developing leaders at the squadron level is a priority. Achieving that produces a mission-focused, values-driven and people-oriented Air Force culture.

“The skills covered in this course aren’t new, but they are critical to our student’s success as supervisors,” Chesnutt said. “Competence is a big part of trust, and Supervisory 101 exposes students to a wide range of duties focused on taking care of their Airmen. They developed their leadership ‘Why’ during ALS. Now, LRAFB is getting after the administrative ‘How.’”