"Everybody brings their iPads to the meetings and makes notes about the performance of the other people at the meeting,” Kingsley said. “What you get is a herd mentality. If people suss out that the leader is displeased with a certain person, then people will say what they think the leader wants them to say."
Kingsley's client eventually left the company and soon after had an emotional break down. "He was supposed to go into a new job, but he had to take a year off and have intensive psychotherapy to recover his sense of self and his self-confidence," she said.
Laugh it off
Another option for dealing with fear-mongers: laugh it off or reflect the behaviour back on the boss. That's what a woman in the aerospace industry in southern France did when she encountered a manager who used fear tactics.
"He put constant pressure on about delivering results," said the woman, who did not want to be identified. "He was loved by his own boss. This guy did get his team to deliver — massively."
The woman was able to shrug off the behaviour because she had previous experience with intimidating personalities, including an overbearing personal relationship. " As soon as this terrible manager tried to get at me regularly, prove me wrong and accuse me of being a liar, I just looked at him and felt, 'Oh, you poor sick person. If you have to create a fearful environment, you have a very sad story to tell.'."
To comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Capital, head over to our Facebook page, message us on Twitter or find us on LinkedIn.