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Growing, developing with ALS

Staff Sgt. Aaron Bonner, 28th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School instructor, teaches his class about punishments and reinforcements at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 25, 2016. During their time at ALS, Airmen learn useful leadership and life skills to help them become effective supervisors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Denise M. Nevins/Released)

Staff Sgt. Aaron Bonner, 28th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School instructor, teaches his class about punishments and reinforcements at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 25, 2016. During their time at ALS, Airmen learn useful leadership and life skills to help them become effective supervisors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Denise M. Nevins/Released)

Airmen from Airman Leadership School Class 16-4 participate in a group discussion during class at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 25, 2016. ALS provides Airmen the opportunity to experience situations like emergent leadership issues and types of disciplinary problems that may arise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Denise M. Nevins/Released)

Airmen from Airman Leadership School Class 16-4 participate in a group discussion during class at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 25, 2016. ALS provides Airmen the opportunity to experience situations like emergent leadership issues and types of disciplinary problems that may arise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Denise M. Nevins/Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Prior to joining the NCO corps of the Air Force, senior airmen are put through the first round of professional military education, Airman Leadership School.

The five-week course places senior airmen in real-world situations to provide them hands-on leadership training while also gaining a deeper understanding of the meaning behind being an NCO.

"During ALS, Airmen are taught what it takes to be an effective supervisor," said Staff Sgt. Aaron Bonner, 28th Force Support Squadron ALS instructor. "The scenarios we provide them are situations they could encounter in the workplace, and they learn how to handle said situations."

In addition to building on fundamentals, future supervisors also get the chance to experience and learn about interpersonal communication and how it factors into managing people.

"When it comes to interpersonal communication, we teach Airmen how to master finding out the underlying causes of many issues," Bonner said. "For example, if an Airman comes into their shop late or in a bad uniform, we want to correct the problem without ignoring the root of the problem, if possible."

While the Airmen attending ALS receive many benefits from the skills they learn, Bonner noted that being an ALS instructor also has its advantages.

"The biggest benefit I get out of being an ALS instructor is seeing how far these Airmen progress during their time at ALS," he said. "Seeing them grow and develop in their leadership skills and walk across the stage on graduation day as a class is such a great feeling."