Crossing over into becoming a supervisor

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daniel Asselta
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Coming up through the ranks I heard a lot of negative things about Airman Leadership School. Long hours, hard tests, no free time and never ending study groups.  My experience in ALS turned out to be a very positive one.

I never expected to be going through the course here, but it turned out to be an extremely rewarding experience, both professionally and personally. The instructors here seemed to have the perfect balance of fun, and professionalism in the classroom. 

The course definitely had its ups and downs for me. My favorite part of the experience was the camaraderie the course built between the students.  I leaned that no one is an expert on everything, but we all contribute something to the team.  In my case, during the Joint-Warfighter lesson, I excelled and had the most impact to my team, since I had experience working with our sister services.  I didn't realize that other Airmen don't necessarily have the same opportunities I do when it comes to joint missions. During other lessons, however, such as bullet writing, I had to ask other team members for assistance. 

The first few days of the course seemed like routine Air Force training, but as the days went on, it became so much more. I can't say I was fully prepared for it, but I learned quickly how to adapt and overcome the situation, as did my fellow students.  I was expecting it to be a little slower, but we dove into the material head first.

Unlike other Air Force training, I found out this one required a lot more than memorization of facts and history.  It taught me to critically think and to think outside-the-box. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the instructors were always willing to answer my questions, no matter how far-fetched they sometimes were. When I saw the first pretest during week one, I had no idea what any of it meant, but as the course went on a lot clicked and by the time the final week rolled around, I was ready for the final exam.  

I firmly believe that the instructors consistently go above and beyond with the course. They do not have to be so interactive, or try to keep our attention the way that they did, but they did it consistently. By doing that, I think they turned what could've been an extremely boring experience into a new exciting learning experience entirely. The interactive learning environment made ALS much more enjoyable for me and my classmates. 

Another aspect of the course I find exceptionally enjoyable was leader development portion.   I always had an idea of what I wanted to be like as a leader, but ALS was able to really sharpen my vision. I learned about what makes a good leader, leadership traits, and types of leadership styles. By knowing what kind of leader I want to be, and how to work with different personalities, the course painted a picture for me about what I want to accomplish as a leader in the U.S. Air Force.