FQ — The Fun Quotient: A New Leadership Competency

How to initiate moments of joy and connection. For You.

The Party Scientist
5 min readJul 14, 2021

My happiness has been repeatedly elevated by moments of human connection for which I have been responsible. When I catalyze a ritual or experience of human connection, it never fails to fill me with joy and fulfillment. I witness the smiles and connections I generate. It fills my soul.

It is this feeling that has inspired me to write this article.

FQ is a different approach to happiness. Sure, happiness is an inner game. Emotional intelligence is important too. But, what has taken my emotional well-being to the next level has been bringing people together and setting them free. This is the underpinning of FQ.

This article is a course outline. I will teach you my methods for bringing people together, but also the life philosophy that motivates me to do it. This life philosophy is about the inner game — our quality of mind. But also, it challenges the conventional definition of the good life.

My hope is that this article blossoms into an online training, and then a book. It has been too long that we have overlooked the relationship between joy and bringing humans together.

The Fun Quotient

a metric for one’s ability to initiate positive interpersonal interactions.

FQ is one way to measure your interpersonal competence. Your FQ goes up when your competency in three core skills goes up.

  1. The ability to access a prosocial state.
  2. The ability to produce interpersonal psychological safety.
  3. The ability to evoke positive emotions in interpersonal situations.

Humans with high FQ leave the humans lucky enough to be in their presence elevated, energized, and confident. Do you remember a time where you felt fully seen and empowered by another? FQers create this emotion, but they also elicit excitement.

FQers create permission for authenticity and vulnerability. This is the most foundational skill for anyone interested in bringing people together. Whereas most facilitators use self-disclosure or sadness to normalize vulnerability, high FQers know how to use goofiness, joy, and self-deprecation.

Competency #1 — Activate the prosocial state.

Everything flows more easily when you are in a prosocial state and when your guests are in a prosocial state. A prosocial state is a relaxed, un-self-conscious, positive state. Consider getting into a prosocial state as the lubrication of your creativity… graphic.

There are three methods for entering a prosocial state. You can apply these techniques for your own state and for your guests’ state — 1. Raise your heart-rate. 2. Optimize your thoughts. 3. Elevate your mood.

A prosocial state is also characterized by an internal sense of psychological safety: “It’s safe for me take social risks, I’m not afraid of rejection or judgement, I’m on a growth journey.” When we believe it’s safe, whether it’s safe or not, we can take action. We can fall on our face and get back up. We can learn and practice.

In the course, I will go into all three in detail.

Competency #2 — Create psychological safety.

Interpersonal risks are actions of expression or non-conformity. On the mild side of the spectrum, an interpersonal risk could be a smile and wave. On the extreme side, it could be getting everyone’s attention and initiating a line-dance. Interpersonal risks have rewards and dangers. The risk-reward ratio is favourable. Trust me.

Psychological safety is defined by a shared belief that interpersonal risk-taking will be celebrated, not shamed.

To create psychological safety, interpersonal risk-taking as a facilitator is necessary. Often, facilitators use self-disclosure and emotional vulnerability to create safety. FQers use silliness, positive expression, games, and excitement.

For the FQer to take action, they need to not be attached to the result. They must know that its the courageous action that counts, not the result. Being in the gladiator arena is what counts. Not whether you make mistakes. These beliefs reinforce a sense of internal psychological safety I was talking about earlier.

In the course, I elaborate on the principles for developing an unconditional internal sense of psychological safety. I also present the different tactics for creating psychological safety in social environments.

Competency #3 — Uplift your humans.

This is the final competency of FQ, and it stands on the foundation of the previous competencies. This foundation is necessary for the activation of creativity, vulnerability, and play — via the activation of positive emotions.

FQers know that positive emotions reduce stress, boost creativity, and enable deeper human connection. FQers may activate positive emotions for their own sake, or for the sake of nurturing closeness and self-disclosure.

FQers do three things to activate joy — they invite and celebrate human expression, they take the playful path, and they evoke prosocial energy. This energy is the additional emotional expression that is unlocked when humans express in synchrony.

The first technique is about noticing small bits of expression and positively reinforcing those expressions. Example: When someone smiles or laughs, join their smiling and laughing. No straight-face.

The second technique is about your behaviour. Cultivating a ‘propensity to see the light or bright side of life, to joke with other people, and not to take things too seriously in life, keeping a positive state of mind.’ I use goofiness and self-deprecation as a practice for taking the playful path.

Finally, the last technique. What we have all been waiting for. This is about the art of facilitating group activities, circles, and games. I have a repertoire of games that I apply consistently. My favourite is the cinnamon role hug. The principle here is that a facilitator’s expertise is no greater than the quality of their tools. Evoking prosocial energy is about using tools.

One of my favourite tools is music. High FQers have their different styles of evoking prosocial energy, but they all know the power of music in their facilitation. The right song can increase engagement in your group activities, intensify the emotions people are feeling, and give people guidance as to how to participate.

In the FQ course, I give participants my favourite songs and activities to break the ice and ignite play in any social environment. Here’s one song that I have played in tens of countries — I will always love you, by Whitney Houston.

So what did you learn? Comment below and reinforce your memory.

And join my lab when you’re ready for a weekly dose of facilitation and human connection wisdom.

The Party Scientist’s Lab 💥 http://bit.ly/party-scientist-lab 🧪



The Party Scientist

Human Connection & Belonging Strategist | Professor of Shared Joy | I help leaders reinvent how they connect their people and build community