NEWS | June 10, 2021

405th AFSB develops virtual supervisor training program for local nationals

By Cameron Porter 405th Army Field Support Brigade

The 405th Army Field Support Brigade understands that leadership matters – so much so it established what may be the Army’s first brigade-level supervisor training program for Soldiers, Army civilians and local national employees.

In conjunction with U.S. Army Sustainment Command’s mandated online supervisory training for Soldiers and Army civilian employees in leadership positions, the 405th AFSB recently developed a training course that targets its local national employees as part of a 405th AFSB total-team supervisor training program. And to test it out, the brigade held its first iteration of training for dozens of its local national employees June 8-11.

“Congratulations for being the first candidates to attend this course,” Command Sgt. Maj. Kofie Primus told the first class. “This course will give you some tools to set you apart from your peers and make you better supervisors in the long run.”

During the course “I challenge you to have an open dialogue,” said the 405th AFSB command sergeant major. “A good comment or a good idea only becomes great if we share it amongst ourselves.”

Primus also told the group of local national supervisors in training that almost everything starts at their level.

“A lot of issues and stuff like that can be solved at your level,” Primus said. “The Army’s a people business. The same is true in your specific sections. It’s all about how you take care of your people.”

More than 40 local national employees from the 405th AFSB partook in the 4-day training course, which was conducted virtually via video-teleconference. Brigade employees from Italy, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium participated in collaborative lessons and discussions, each designed with specific learning objectives and actionable items in mind. During this first iteration, participants ranged from mechanics to directors and everything in between.

In addition, well over a dozen facilitators and guest lectures participated – nearly all were organic to the brigade and a combination of active duty officers and noncommissioned officers as well as Army civilians and local national leaders. Their job – to facilitate and lead the group through the course lessons and discussions.

Many of the coaches and mentors who facilitated the training have years of supervisory experience. Because of that, they were often able to include and incorporate their own personal insights and experiences into the course syllabus, which covered such core areas as counseling and mentoring, creating an engaging work environment, supervising a diverse workforce, recognizing and dealing with a hostile work environment, preventing sexual harassment and assault in the workplace, managing conflict, performance management, and more.

During the ‘creating an engaging work environment’ portion of the course, Franz Kugler, an information assurance support officer at Logistics Readiness Center Bavaria, said he feels it’s important to give people the opportunity to make mistakes in order to challenge them and help them grow.

Many other course participants had equally important input and thoughtful examples, and course facilitators supported and often expounded upon their input, creating an overall collaborative learning experience.

For example, Cardelion Deese, a logistics operations specialist with Logistics Readiness Center Stuttgart, said during the course “without teamwork you’re not going to be successful.”

“Give everyone an opportunity,” Deese said. “Some people have a lot of experience in certain areas, and everyone can learn from this.”

Immediately, one of the course facilitators, Staff Sgt. James Braxton, responded “and that makes people want to be more productive and want to engage.”

The 405th AFSB’s supervisor training program is for Soldiers, Army civilians and local national employees. The AMC-required supervisor training is available online for Soldiers and Army civilians, and the brigade course compliments that training by targeting its local national employees. All supervisors should complete the training within the first year of placement and recertify every three years to stay in compliance, according to the brigade commander’s intent.

The end state – to develop supervisors within the brigade trained to foster fair and equitable treatment of all employees, improve employee engagement, promote a positive work environment and improve unit readiness.

“We want to get the mission done, but we want to do it in a way where we are treating all our people with dignity and respect,” said Col. Brad Bane, the 405th AFSB commander.

The 405th AFSB is assigned to ASC and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.