When I saw the first “Inside Out” movie, I remember laughing hard when Anger caused Riley, the main character, to yell at her mom, as it made me recall my youthful outbursts. I also remember choking up when Sadness helped Riley’s make-believe friend grieve her growing up.

Recently, I was treated to “Inside Out 2” during which we are introduced to new emotions, including Anxiety and Embarrassment. The creativity is amazing and I got lost in the film, enjoying every moment.

On a subsequent walk with a co-worker, as we discussed a recent decision to let an employee go due to their choice to shame others, I reflected on the emotions we experience and invest in at work. If we had let this behavior continue, we would have been sending a message that shaming is acceptable.

Who is responsible for our emotions? Is it appropriate to talk about them in an office or professional setting? It’s a nature/nurture-type question, in my opinion. Can we control our emotions? Are we responsible when someone says we made them feel a certain way?

I can argue both sides – that we both can and cannot control our emotions – but what I am sure of is that we can be intentional about how we want to make someone feel. If I say something that embarrasses someone but that was not my intent, I apologize and ask for forgiveness; but if I intend to upset someone and want to make them feel bad, then I am responsible for those emotions.

In a professional setting, when we let bad behavior stay, the message we are sending is that it’s OK to be disrespectful, mean, degrading and/or adolescent. I am a fan of giving people a chance to become aware of what is not working and to change how they interact, but there is a limit to that window of chance. Each day a person with bad behavior is allowed to stay is a day that the adults – the ‘A players’ – are at risk of leaving for higher ground.

In the sequel, when Joy returns to the control center and shows Anxiety what she had done (created mayhem for Riley), Anxiety says, “I was just trying to help,” which indeed she was. Sometimes, we need another individual’s perspective to understand if our desired outcomes align with reality.

– Becky Sharpe, CEO