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Turning supervisors into LEADers

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Darrel Schrader, 81st Training Wing chaplain, delivers instruction to students for an "A Life-Mapping Experience" exercise during the Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar inside the Airman Leadership School building at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2019. The three-day course, which is open to all supervisors, is meant to enhance effective communication, skillful interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence in the military environment by using an active learning format that emphasizes discussion  and minimizes lecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Darrel Schrader, 81st Training Wing chaplain, delivers instruction to students for an "A Life-Mapping Experience" exercise during the Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar inside the Airman Leadership School building at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2019. The three-day course, which is open to all supervisors, is meant to enhance effective communication, skillful interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence in the military environment by using an active learning format that emphasizes discussion and minimizes lecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Keesler personnel participate in a "Star Power" exercise during the Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar inside the Airman Leadership School building at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2019. The three-day course, which is open to all supervisors, is meant to enhance effective communication, skillful interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence in the military environment by using an active learning format that emphasizes discussion and minimizes lecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Keesler personnel participate in a "Star Power" exercise during the Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar inside the Airman Leadership School building at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2019. The three-day course, which is open to all supervisors, is meant to enhance effective communication, skillful interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence in the military environment by using an active learning format that emphasizes discussion and minimizes lecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Zach McDaniel, 81st Medical Operations Squadron respiratory therapy NCO in charge, participates in a discussion with fellow students during a "Star Power" exercise during the Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar inside the Airman Leadership School building at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2019. The three-day course, which is open to all supervisors, is meant to enhance effective communication, skillful interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence in the military environment by using an active learning format that emphasizes discussion and minimizes lecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Zach McDaniel, 81st Medical Operations Squadron respiratory therapy NCO in charge, participates in a discussion with fellow students during a "Star Power" exercise during the Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar inside the Airman Leadership School building at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2019. The three-day course, which is open to all supervisors, is meant to enhance effective communication, skillful interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence in the military environment by using an active learning format that emphasizes discussion and minimizes lecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

U.S. Marine Capt. Adam Pinkney, Keesler Marine Detachment commanding officer, and U.S. Air Force Capt. Daria Coulthurst, 81st Medical Support Squadron resource management NCO in charge, participate in "A Life-Mapping Experience" exercise during the Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar inside the Airman Leadership School building at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2019. The three-day course, which is open to all supervisors, is meant to enhance effective communication, skillful interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence in the military environment by using an active learning format that emphasizes discussion and minimizes lecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

U.S. Marine Capt. Adam Pinkney, Keesler Marine Detachment commanding officer, and U.S. Air Force Capt. Daria Coulthurst, 81st Medical Support Squadron resource management NCO in charge, participate in "A Life-Mapping Experience" exercise during the Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar inside the Airman Leadership School building at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2019. The three-day course, which is open to all supervisors, is meant to enhance effective communication, skillful interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence in the military environment by using an active learning format that emphasizes discussion and minimizes lecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Darrius Williams, 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron emergency management NCO in charge, participates in "A Life-Mapping Experience" exercise during the Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar inside the Airman Leadership School building at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2019. The three-day course, which is open to all supervisors, is meant to enhance effective communication, skillful interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence in the military environment by using an active learning format that emphasizes discussion and minimizes lecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Darrius Williams, 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron emergency management NCO in charge, participates in "A Life-Mapping Experience" exercise during the Leadership Enhancement and Development Seminar inside the Airman Leadership School building at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Nov. 5, 2019. The three-day course, which is open to all supervisors, is meant to enhance effective communication, skillful interpersonal interaction and emotional intelligence in the military environment by using an active learning format that emphasizes discussion and minimizes lecture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

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.