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With the recent harassment and violence on the increase in the states, we have felt the heart ache and trauma from Melbourne Australia. This month we want to talk about kindness.
In 1971, Philip Zimbardo conducted the Stanford prison, which was a social psychology experiment that attempted to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power, focusing on the struggle between prisoners and prison officers. Volunteers were selected carefully and assigned randomly to be either prisoners or guards in a mock prison setup. The experiment was expected to last for two weeks but was terminated after six days because what was happening was frightening. The participants were not able to clearly differentiate between role-playing and their real self. Many of the guards became drunk with power and cruel, the prisoners became docile and self preserving, and even the good guards helped sustain the status quo. In only four days, human values were suspended, self concepts were challenged, and pathological behaviours surfaced.
Being unkind to others is made easier with distancing and anonymity. Many of us believe that we are essentially fair, just, humane, caring, and understanding. We believe that we wouldn’t cause harm to others intentionally. The Milgram experiment is another famous psychological study on obedience in which more than 60 percent of the participants delivered what they thought to be a series of painful and dangerous electric shocks to another person. This experiment made it clear that by making one feel anonymous, removed from the subject of their actions, and with specific social expectations, people can do horrible things. This is the root problem with online social spaces where bullying another can happen without seeing the effects of our words and behaviour on the other person, without seeing their pain caused by our words. Online bullying is such a thing that WikiHow has a guide on how to stop bullying on Facebook.
It can also be seen in physical spaces with the debate around whether police officers should display their names on their uniforms. In 2015, the government permitted NSW police to only show badge numbers instead. Their police association holds that this protects the officers from harassment and violence. Opponents of the move worry that numbers are less memorable and more anonymous - giving the police less accountability. At least in Australia, police must provide their identification details when asked while on official duty (although this may not be the case for undercover officers.) That isn’t true in every country.
A Hidden Brain episode from 2017, Prisons of Our Own Making, talks about healthy people’s behaviours, the effects of solitary confinement, and the importance of social interaction. This week’s readings and an email from our local yoga place made me think of this topic. Melissa from Assembly Yoga says:
It’s easy to be a good person when things are going well. To be grateful when the going is good and loving towards people we like. But who are we in the tough times and to the people who challenge us? When we practice our good habits (meditation, relaxation, self-compassion) and reinforce our better qualities (patience, kindness, curiosity) consistently over time, we have the resources to call on them when they are truly required.
In this TV series episode 3, Ted Lasso says to the journalist Trent Crimm that for him “success is not about the wins and losses. It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.” Lasso’s coaching and leadership style depicts empathy and kindness, and so inspirational that there are numerous articles about his approach.
Kindness is crucial to our emotional wellbeing and society. We see it everyday and in many forms. From mowing the neighbour’s nature’s strip when they’re unwell, telling the mother wrangling a screaming child out of the supermarket that she is doing a great job, or looking at someone in the eye with a smile saying “thank you”. We are all capable of it and we should do it more often to take care of our communities, and learn to intervene when we see harassment. As COVID-19 vaccinations are rolling out and we emerge from all the lockdowns, remember to practice kindness towards ourselves and others.
Launching the Blackmill Leadership Hub
The Blackmill Leadership Hub is now available to apply for on our internet website! This is an opportunity to bring like-minded people together to support one another through weekly meetups. Discussion topics are semi structured with real issues and challenges presented by members to initiate problem solving strategies to the group. Our Leadership Hub is ideal for inclusive tech managers in leadership roles who want to focus on growing themselves, their people, and organisational culture. A monthly subscription program means that you can join or leave as it suits you and your schedule. Contact us if you have questions or just apply on the website.
Emma Jones writes about why inclusive leadership is good for business, what it really means, why it is important, and how to foster inclusive leadership at the workplace
Cheng Lau shares how childhood shame now informs her parenting. Parenting is hard. Pandemic is hard. Juggling work, caring for loved ones, and home schooling is hard. We should recognise that and honour the efforts we put in to learn from our past and grow as parents and people.
In this video (6:43), Tracy Young talks about how vulnerability makes you a better leader, by being complete instead of hiding who you are. This talk contains a graphic story. Discretion is advised.
Diversity doesn’t stick without inclusion talks about how part of the problem is that “diversity” and “inclusion” are so often lumped together that they’re assumed to be the same thing, but diversity alone does not drive inclusion. In fact, without inclusion there’s often a diversity backlash. To support inclusion we need inclusive leaders, feeling safe enough to be authentic, sponsoring more people from marginalised groups, and well-defined career paths that make it clear how promotions work.
Our friend, Chris Shiflett, writes about a Monday in Boulder, at his local store, when yet another active shooting episode happened.
Elle wrote about five levels of pay transparency. Gender and racial pay gaps are still a common problem in the workplace. Having any structure around salaries is a positive thing, even if it is not all full disclosure.
We’ve done interviews with members of the team and with one of our clients (Thanks, Patrick!). We like them, but questions for getting to know us are different to what you might want from others. We’d love to know what you’d like to see from these interviews. What do you want to learn? Just reply to this email to let us know! (or to firstname.lastname@example.org if this was forwarded to you)
Homemade butter, buttermilk, and compound butters
Making homemade butter is easier than you think, and cultured ones taste amazing. It just takes a tiny bit more patience.
What you will need? A large bowl, cheesecloth (muslin), whisk/electric stand mixer/electric beaters, and a dish to hold the butter (and possibly a jar).
To make regular butter, all you need is thick cream, and then whisk it in a big bowl until it separates. Then continue below from step 4.
For cultured butter, you will need:
You can also mix any butter with other ingredients to make compound butters that are just divine. For example, mix any butter with miso, or confit garlic (will post our recipe next month), or dried seaweed, or golden syrup, or cinnamon sugar, or…
Thank you for showing an interest to our newsletter and we hope that you enjoyed the read. Feel free to contact us if you have any feedback, a burning question or just a recipe that you would like to share 😊.
Until next time, keep learning!
Everyone at Blackmill