Life coach creates positive work environment

Sonya Stallworth, a military work and life consultant, provides several classes to military members through the Airmen and Family Readiness Center at Maxwell Air Force Base. One of her most popular workshops is called creating a positive work environment. In the workshops, she discusses different work temperaments and relationships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Brook)

Sonya Stallworth, a military work and life consultant, provides several classes to military members through the Airmen and Family Readiness Center at Maxwell Air Force Base. One of her most popular workshops is called creating a positive work environment. In the workshops, she discusses different work temperaments and relationships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Brook)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al. -- Deploy, change duty stations, change duty sections--it's no secret that Airmen move a lot, which means having to adjust to both new work environments and coworkers.

To help Airmen with the adjustment process, or to help current work centers, Sonya Stallworth, a military work and life consultant at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, teaches a class on creating a positive work environment.

In the creating a positive work environment class, Stallworth promotes a sense of teamwork by going over different types of communication as well as various exercises to develop positive working relationships and reduce workplace stress. Her goal is to improve office moral, which in turn creates more efficient capabilities to support Air Force missions.

"[In the military] you work with a varied group of people," Stallworth said. "There are a lot of different personalities, so it's important that we try to understand who we are in addition to understanding the people we work with to make the work environment better."

In her workshops, she talks about how sometimes people have a difficult time evaluating their own actions and are instead quick to blame others when things aren't going as planned.

"We have to be able to look at ourselves, too, recognizing our actions and how we communicate," she said. "It all goes back to our attitude. I talk about how attitude is more important than skill or reality. Even if you know a lot of things or think you know everything, if you don't have a good attitude, it doesn't help. When certain realities come into our lives, how we deal with them is important, so that's why I say attitude is more important."

Another key point she stresses in the class is making personal connections.

"There may be some commonalities, and once people figure out they have something in common it builds better work relationships," she said.

The class's open forum for all ranks involved also brings to light work center issues that individuals didn't know how to express before.

"Sometimes we don't ask questions because we sense it as a sign of weakness, but actually, it's a sign of strength," Stallworth said of how she encourages Airmen in her workshops to ask questions.

In addition, she also stresses the importance of supervisors making sure people understand instructions.

"Supervisors should also ask if everything is clear to individuals," she said.

Stallworth said that it doesn't take much to get people to open up and ask questions or bring up issues as the safe, high-energy environment she creates in the classroom tends to start conversation where people are able to voice their opinions.

"I encourage feedback," Stallworth said.

In her recent presentation at the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development, Stallworth focused on attitudes and self-evaluation, asking the audience to define various types of attitudes.

Maj. Deborah Miller, assistant director of operations at Officer Training School, attended the workshop and said "it was valuable information that encourages positivity throughout work centers."

Miller added that the 24th Training Squadron's Basic Officer Training School recently started using her services for officer trainees who have difficulty passing their comprehensive written tests.


"She speaks with the trainees about managing their time and gives them to tools to be resilient under stress," Miller said. "After speaking with her, all of the trainees have passed their consolidated written tests so far."

To schedule a workshop with Stallworth, call the Airman and Family Readiness center at 953-2353.