top of page

HERO Skills for Inclusion

Developed by: Steve L. Robbins, PhD.

The HERO Skills© for Inclusion, developed by Dr. Steve Robbins is a set of foundational skills essential for creating an inclusive culture – a culture in which people have a high sense of belonging and high levels of psychological safety. These individual level, meta-cognitive skills are necessary for cultivating relationships, strengthening relational bonds, and engendering trust. Practiced regularly and consistently they form a powerful set of tools in one’s toolbox for leveraging individuals’ talents, skills and perspectives and building high-performance teams. The HERO Skills© naturally lead one to focus on people, putting people first. Without the HERO Skills there will be a greater tendency to primarily focus on projects, making people secondary. These skills are not just for the workplace. They can be very helpful to enhancing any social relationship, strengthening bonds with family, friends, and others. Below is a quick look at the HERO Skills for Inclusion©.


Defining the HERO Skills for Inclusion©

Below are succinct and simplified working definitions of the HERO Skills.


  • Humility: The practice of respecting and valuing others as much or more as you value and respect yourself. 


  • Empathy: The practice of cognitively and emotionally understanding others and their journey without value judgment.


  • Reflection: The practice of pausing, mindful introspection, and self/other-awareness.


  • Openness: The practice of curiosity, deliberately stepping out of one’s psychological and physical comfort zones to encounter the new and different without value judgment.


Note that the definition of the skills includes a key word, “practice.” Without regular practice, the HERO Skills©are just a set of concepts that one may know and understand. Knowing and understanding the skills, while necessary, are not sufficient for regularly and competently performing the skills. With that understanding, Dr. Robbins has developed a HERO Skills© Practice Program for organizations and individuals who want to pursue the mastery of the HERO Skills©.


HERO Skills Practice Program

Building neural circuitry for desired skills is the main goal of practice. Well-developed neural circuitry raises the probability that practiced skills become, more or less, automatic or habitual. That is, it increases the chances that one, without little thought, will put the HERO Skills© into action on a regular basis. Dr. Robbins suggests an initial 5-week practice program that involves learning, deliberate practice, and feedback. Such a plan would have a schedule as described below.


Week One

  • In a 2-hour in-person or virtual session, participants are introduced to and given an overview of the HERO Skills for Inclusion©

  • Form practice teams

  • Develop and commit to a 5-week practice plan

  • Take HERO Skills© Profile/Assessment (pre-practice)

  • Participants begin practicing the first HERO Skill, Humility.

  • Review the week with practice team


Week Two

  • Practice HERO Skill, Empathy

  • Review the week with practice team


Week Three

  • 60-minute virtual session with Dr. Robbins to check-in 

  • Review, provide feedback and discuss progress

  • Practice HERO Skill, Reflection


Week Four

  • Practicing Hero Skill, Openness

  • Review the week with practice team

  • Re-take HERO Skills Profile/Assessment (post-practice)


Week Five

  • 60-minute virtual session with Dr. Robbins

  • Get back results of HERO Skills© Assessment

  • Review and discuss program progress

  • Next steps for personal practice and cascading to others

The 5-week practice plan is just the start. Ongoing practice is necessary for mastery and creating the habits of being humble, engaging in empathy, pausing to reflect and opening one’s self to the new and different people and perspectives.


bottom of page