Our Favorite 25 TV Bosses (And What We Learn From Them)

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If you think your boss is tough, wait ’till you see these guys! The scripted, non-reality TV show might be a dying breed, but shows past and present provide us with many memorable bosses and leaders. Following are some of the most unforgettable TV bosses, along with what made them so great (or not so great). Not all of them are role models, in fact many of them are good examples because they tell us precisely what not to do.

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1) Mr. Montgomery Burns

The quintessential “evil capitalist” boss, Mr. Burns is best known for pursuing money at the expensive of safety, public opinion, and the well-being of his employees. As Springfield’s richest citizen (Forbes estimated his net worth at $16.8 billion during one episode), Mr. Burns runs the town power plant with an iron fist and embodies many corporate America stereotypes, such as forgetting the names of employees, surrounding himself with sycophants (Smithers) and stopping at nothing to increase his own net worth.

2) Tony Soprano

As the boss of the DiMeo crime family, Tony Soprano cannot be as open about his wealth-creating pedigree as Mr. Burns. However, by operating under the guise of a waste management consultant, Soprano manages to carry out all the functions befitting of an organized crime ring: murdering malcontents, covering up his misdeeds, and collecting the handsome fees his line of work entitles him to. He even manages to score a little cash from sporting bets on the side.

3) Captain Kirk

Played by the legendary William Shatner, Captain Kirk is the head honcho of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek. While his time at the helm wasn’t always smooth (some turbulence is to be expected when you’re commandeering a ship through the vast reaches of space), Kirk could always be counted on as an innovative and quick-thinking leader. These qualities helped him in becoming the youngest Starfleet captain at 34 years old, as well as the first captain to bring his starship back with minimal damage following a five year mission.

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4) William Adama

From bars to battleships, William Adama earned his stripes as Commanding Officer of the Battlestar Galactica. His job responsibilities were a bit different than the average middle manager, encompassing such tasks as evading enemy fire, testing military dispositions, and going on covert, illegal surveillance missions. Make no mistake, though: the specter of constant battle and warfare made Adama a hardened and focused leader indeed!

5) Michael Scott

Michael Scott’s job as regional manager of the Dunder Mifflin paper distribution company is a bit less intense than commanding the Battlestar Galactica, but “The Office” wouldn’t be the same without him. Scott is the archetypal “social outcast” boss, woefully lacking in people skills yet still managing to hold a high opinion of himself. It is not uncommon to see Scott pouting with his head in his hands during one scene and acting like the king of the castle the next. He is also somewhat of an “office clown” who finds his jokes either miss the mark or wind up hurting the person they were aimed at. All in all, though, his employees don’t seem to mind working for him.

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