Every working adult has known one - a boss who loves making subordinates squirm, whose moods radiate through the office, sending workers scurrying for cover, whose very voice causes stomach muscles to clench and pulses to quicken.
But most often, Dr. Hornstein found, managers bullied subordinates for the sheer pleasure of exercising power.
"It was a kind of low-grade sadism, that was the most common reason," he said. "They'd start on one person and then move on to someone else."
"Some people were afraid to do anything,'' Ms. Aleandri said. "But others didn't mind what was happening at all, because they wanted my job."
If it is a deadline problem, address that. For an attack on a particular skill, discuss ways to improve.
"Stick with the substance, not the process,'' he said, "and often it won't escalate."