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The leaders of tomorrow

Staff Sgt. Symphony Leyk, 5th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School Instructor, shares memories while instructing her students at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Jan. 15, 2019,. Airmanship, standards, discipline and self-awareness are a few topics covered throughout the five-week ALS course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Ley)

Staff Sgt. Symphony Leyk, 5th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School Instructor, shares memories while instructing her students at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Jan. 15, 2019,. Airmanship, standards, discipline and self-awareness are a few topics covered throughout the five-week ALS course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Ley)

Airman Leadership School students listen to instruction at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Jan. 15, 2019. Approximately seven classes are taught throughout the year, transitioning roughly 448 students from Airmen to NCOs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Ley)

Airman Leadership School students listen to instruction at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Jan. 15, 2019. Approximately seven classes are taught throughout the year, transitioning roughly 448 students from Airmen to NCOs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Ley)

Staff Sgt. Symphony Leyk, 5th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School Instructor, educates her students at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Jan. 15, 2019. Leyk has taught more than 2,768 hours of curriculum and instructed 304 students. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Ley)

Staff Sgt. Symphony Leyk, 5th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School Instructor, educates her students at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Jan. 15, 2019. Leyk has taught more than 2,768 hours of curriculum and instructed 304 students. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Ley)

Staff Sgt. Symphony Leyk, 5th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School Instructor, hands out envelopes to class leaders, at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Jan. 15, 2019. Airman leadership school class size may vary, but typically have 64 students broken down into four flights. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Ley)

Staff Sgt. Symphony Leyk, 5th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School Instructor, hands out envelopes to class leaders, at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Jan. 15, 2019. Airman leadership school class size may vary, but typically have 64 students broken down into four flights. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Ley)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

The room was silent until the instructor started to speak, her voice echoing off the auditorium walls, capturing her student’s attention.

 

Staff Sgt. Symphony Leyk, 5th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School instructor, said her favorite part about being an instructor is that she has an influence on leadership development of Airmen.


“They inspire me,” said Leyk. “They show just how much they truly care about taking care of the Air Force, not just from a professional standpoint, but a personal one. The leaders developed here will no doubt influence the next generation of the Air Force.”

 

For five weeks, ALS instructors train Airmen for their future role as a NCO in the Air Force.

 

The first step in becoming an effective leader is learning the proper material, said Silchuk. The real challenge begins by communicating what they have learned to their subordinates, peers and leaders.

 

Throughout the course, these future leaders learn how to effectively communicate the mission to their teams.

 

“Leaders are developed over time, so they’ll have a lot of experience,” said Leyk. “We equip them [with the knowledge] to share those experiences with their Airmen.”


Using past experiences will promote trust between the NCO and Airman relationship, resulting in a more effective working environment. The more personal and engaging the conversation is the more effective it will be, according to Leyk.

 

“Our students learn the crucial parts of preparing their future Airmen for success,” said Tech. Sgt. Zachary Silchuk, 5th FSS ALS instructor. “They will learn [there is not a] one-size-fits-all leadership style. [These future NCOs] will have to find out how to motivate their Airmen individually if they want to see them grow personally and professionally.”

 

Motivating people to be successful can be done in various ways, and ALS instructors strive to encourage their students to take the time to discover what will motivate each of their future subordinates.

 

Leyk said, preparing Airmen for the NCO role is done by encouraging them to invest in people and embracing a positive perspective in themselves and those around them.

 

“It is now their responsibility to train, guide, and mold their Airmen into our future leaders,” said Silchuk. “A very daunting task that I strongly believe each one of them are ready to accept and carry out.”

 

Airmen graduating from ALS are trusted with the responsibility to lead those around them using all of the tools they have learned and their past experiences.


“The roles we hold today are not to be filled by us tomorrow,” said Silchuk. “Our Airmen are our future.”

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