Leading By Intimidation…Support or Oppose?

I am a fan of Sean “Puffy” “Diddy” Combs. I admire what he has accomplished as an entrepreneur and a mogul in the various industries spreading from music and entertainment into the fashion and beverage industries (Ciroc). One the most looked forward to ‘Diddy event’ for me is his reality TV shows and no doubt his latest “I Want to Work For Diddy” on VH1 is choc -full of entertaining moments, educational moments and thought provoking moments.


The show is about young men and women vying for the post of personal assistant to Puffy. Of course week to week they will be faced with incredulous challenges and seemingly ridiculous tasks which, stupendous as they seem, are the reality of the entertainment business. I can definitely see how working for Diddy can prepare you for a job working for anyone and anything. The Government should consider a ‘Diddy Bootcamp’ for privates in the army as a mandatory training course (Hey! Don’t forget you got the idea here Sean!).



I can’t help but to notice that Sean Combs’ presence comes with extreme intimidation in his underlings and expectants. I would describe my leadership method as Participative, where I get involved with my team and work alongside them to encourage and build a positive rapport and hence improve self confidence in job performance and productivity. Diddy, on the other hand uses an Autocratic style.



Does this style of leadership work? Hmmm… I can go on and on and speak against this method, claiming that putting down employees and intimidating them lead to them continually questioning their abilities and compromising productivity. But does it really? Diddy seem to produce very efficient individuals prepared for the harsh industry; many of whom have gone off to create successful companies after learning under the ‘Diddyship’. What then can I say about his intimidating presence? It seems to work!



I worked at Go West, official distributor of Guess? apparel in Jamaica and I never forget Ms Pessoa. Once her car pulled into the parking lot we all had to be BUSY. If there were no customers, no unfolded shirts, no crooked hangers, WE MADE SOME! We had to create work because no one should be idling at any time. I believe that though it was intimidation, there was deep respect; we kept the place up to the high standard demanded by her and at no time did we feel we could drop the ball and become lackadaisical. Her methods were successful! Go West was and still is known for its atmosphere and air of exquisiteness.



On the opposite end, I have seen instances where managers or supervisors try to develop an atmosphere of equality and friendliness which resulted in disrespect and subsequent discord. The worker begins to feel he needn’t to stand by the hard and fast rules of the company and sometimes try to progressively break more to see what he can get away with in the presence of the supervisor. At that point, if the manager or supervisor tries to reprimand the employee, the relationship is adversely affected.



I am led to believe that leadership styles are directly proportional to who is being ‘led’. Those under the autocratic ‘Diddicratic’ method need to be tough, strong, and (somewhat subservient at the same time) and is not discouraged by shame and intimidation. The Participative and Laissez Faire leaders have employees who are self sufficient, confident, and who acknowledge and embrace the distinction among roles in the hierarchy of the company.



What is the best leadership method? What method brings out the best in employees and results in highest level of productivity?


Paula Yee Sing-Edwards

YaadNoyz Magazine

YaadNoyz Production LLC

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1 Comments

  • David Mullings

    The best leadership method is the one that fits your organization and the kind of team you are leading.
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    If you are a football coach, there is no democracy, it is your way or the highway, period.
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    I also highly recommend the HBR article "Are You Picking the right leaders?" (http://harvardbusinessonline.h...
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    The first skill says it all:
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    "Most exception leaders aren't team players. They're independent thinkers, assemble diverse teams, and embrace others more experienced and smarter than they."