What is CLES, you may ask?  The Cadet Commanders’ Leadership Enrichment Seminar (CLES) is a leadership development workshop hosted by the Air Force Academy's Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership (DFBL) in partnership with the Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD). 

During the seminar, a multiple mission partner team of leadership coaches, mentors, and experts from throughout USAFA prepare 150 cadet commanders and intercollegiate team captains per year to lead change in the Cadet Wing by achieving their unit goals.  Cadets arrive to CLES with a desired goal, and then work with their cadet peers and a team of experts to evolve their goal into a specific action plan after considering issues of planning, communication, motivation, and feedback.  DFBL has hosted CLES each Fall, Spring and Summer semester since 1983 with the generous support of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) Association of Graduates (AOG). 

Last spring the current cadet leadership came to this seminar in preparation for leading the cadet wing.  In this second session, they review progress and refine their goals along with learning leadership. 

Below is an example of one of the exercises demonstrating different management styles.   The goal was to get the blindfolded cadet to throw 8 foosballs into a box.  In the first example all the group members did was yell at the cadet and tell her what she were doing wrong. (WebGuy Note:  Kind of reminded me of the footprints on in-processing day, LOL). 



Needless to say, since she had no idea where the box was located and no clear direction, plus she wasn't allowed to ask questions.  She wasn't very successful.

The next cadet was given the same basic instructions, but more specific guidance, and encouragement, but little else.  (Ex: turn Left, throw farther, good job! etc).  Still could ask no questions.  He did better, but not much.


The next cadet was allowed to ask questions, get specific answers and was given encouragement.  Needless to say, she scored 100%  She was able to walk right up to the box and drop the ball in.

Finally, the last cadet was micro-managed.  Everyone was telling him what to do.  He was on info overload.  He was literally being walked around the room and to make matters worse, the box was being moved by a cadet trying to guide the ball in.   It was hilarious, and also not very effective.

The rest of the photos from the event are located in the Military Training gallery under Character & Leadership.  Enjoy!