If you’ve paid any attention to television in the last ten years you’re bound to have seen some of the most beloved and baffling fictional bosses around. Some may see themselves reflected in the corny humor of a Michael Scott or the eager, over-the-top desire to please of a Leslie Knope, even if there is no resemblance there could be some lessons learned about being on top from their antics. We’ve rounded up some of the favorite fictional bosses from entrepreneurs and business owners.
Ari Gold – Entourage
The world’s best fictional BOSS would have to be Ari Gold from Entourage. His lack of care for office politics, or other people’s feelings makes him a pioneer in the business world. His character truly showcases the uncut reality behind how difficult it is to balance work, family and fun but does a great job at reminding all of us that being unfiltered, bold and brutally honest can be powerful in the business world. Ari is BOSS.
Thanks to Pejman Ghadimi, Secret Entourage
Marcus Brody – Indiana Jones
Anyway.. my favorite fictional boss is Marcus Brody. He is the highly credentialed, fatherly boss of Indiana Jones. Marcus is a university dean of students and museum curator. He loves his area of expertise so much that you know he always has the highest of motives, if not the best of advice. he cares about Indiana, and the task to be completed. He is always excited about Indiana’s ideas, provides the time and resources Indiana needs to do the work. Even though Marcus keeps a close watch on the work, worries and wants his employee to be careful, in the end he has faith and trust that Indiana will meet the schedule and produce the deliverable (so to speak). Though Marcus would love to participate in the details of the work, he does not have the physical ability or skills needed to be a major part of Indiana’s quests So he delegates to the more skilled employee. .Marcus recognizes Indiana’s skills, trusts him and is fully supportive of his “employee”.
Thanks to Edmond Dougherty, Ablaze Development Corp
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Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation
Bosses on TV are usually caricatures of the mean or bitchy boss, so it wasn’t easy to pick one. My favorite TV boss is Leslie Knope from “Parks and Rec,” because she’s organized, focused and is loyal to her employees and her mission. She’s also a fan of brainstorming sessions and isn’t afraid to try new things to accomplish her goals. And we’ve seen she has a soft spot, too.
Thanks to Malena Lott, Athena Institute
Mike Brady – The Brady Bunch
The boss I admire is “Mike Brady” who was the Dad on “The Brady Bunch.” Why? Because he hired his own kid (Greg) and even though he kept making mistakes and causing headaches, Mr. Brady remained so calm and supportive. I can’t even manage to do that AT HOME with my kids so anyone who can manage an inept employee who also happens to be his son is a top notch boss in my book!
Thanks to Leslye Schumacher, TalentQ Consulting, Inc.
Jean-Luc Picard – Star Trek: The Next Generation
My favorite fictional boss is Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He does not command – but rather inspires. He inspires absolute obedience, absolute loyalty, absolute trust. Every single person onboard his ship will willingly, gladly and proudly thrust themselves into the most dangerous situations and risk their lives without hesitation, not because they fear his authority, but because they crave his approval. Picard inspired such passionate emotions from his subordinates because they know that he has their back – he would never betray their confidence, he will always reward their loyalty, and he is just a ready to risk his own life for theirs as they are for him.
Thanks to Mario Almonte, Huffington Post
Related Post: How Do You Motivate Employees?
Adam Schiff – Law and Order
My favorite fictional boss is Law and Order’s District Attorney of New York County, Adam Schiff. I liked him as a boss for three main reasons. 1) His employees always knew where they stood with him. If he felt they were not doing what they should, he would tell them in a professional, unemotional manner (most of the time). When things were going well, he gave equal time to complimenting. 2) He did not micromanage. He put good people in place and stayed out of their way. Once his counsel was given, he’d leave them to do what they felt was best. 3) He wasn’t afraid to ask questions. If he didn’t know the answer, he would ask. If he needed someone’s assistance, he would ask. Needing the help of others isn’t a sign of weakness, its a sign of being human. With Adam, no one questioned who was in charge, and he didn’t have to flaunt his authority to have it that way. He respected his employees, and in return they, as well as everyone else, respected him.
Thanks to A.P. Grow, Workplace Sanity Group
Jack Donaghy – 30 Rock
My favorite fictional boss has to be Jack Donaghy, the fearless leader from “30 Rock” played by Alec Baldwin. Jack is supremely calm (unlike fictional boss Mr. Dithers, for example), a trait that commands attention and respect, and gives him a sense of gravitas. I’ve never seen him shout (except when on the phone to his mother), but there is no doubt that he is firmly in charge. He also is devoted to his mentor—even though he is a leader, he takes great pride in using business examples from those who inspire him. And lastly, he takes pride in being a mentor himself to Liz Lemon (played by Tina Fey), helping to guide her both personally and professionally through the crazy worlds of creative programming and life in New York. The fictional Jack has actually been an inspiration to me in my own Internet startup, Techie.com, where I try to develop that same sense of mentorship with my executive staff, and also bring in business lessons learned long ago from leaders who have given me tremendous inspiration.
Thanks to Dan Blacharski, Techie
Miranda Priestly – The Devil Wears Prada
The answer is Miranda Priestly in the film “The Devil Wears Prada”. Miranda Priestly is the haughty and demanding chief in editor of a fashion magazine. She is the model of a bully boss, which would throw off many people. However, I think Miranda is different from a “bad” bully boss. She scares people away, but at the same time, she brings the best out of them. She pushes people hard, criticizes them and expects perfect performances at work. Working under a boss like Miranda Priestly at some points, is crucial for a successful career. One learns how to deal with an extremely difficult boss, looks for ways to accommodate his/her needs, tries to figure why he/she is behaving that way, and once one comes to empathize with the “stone” boss, one will eventually find ways to improve oneself. It requires real hard work, persistence, dedication, resilience, passion to learn and a willingness to understand others. And if one can go through all these stages, one will be able to build great skill sets that would be helpful for not only a successful career, but also for everyday relationship with people.
Thanks to Chris Sinclair, Anthem Group
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Jean-Luc Picard – Star Trek: The Next Generation
My favourite boss isn’t in a corporate context it is Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek. I was so inspired by this character I wrote a University paper on management based on his leadership style. When things went wrong he would call a tactics meeting. He would have representatives from security, engineering the science division all around a table. They put forward their solutions and offered thoughts and resources. They collectively would come up with a tactic to deal with the issue. He then empowered his crew to make the necessary decisions with a single sentence, “Make it so”. This became the characters catch cry. This character had so much to teach people that wanted to bring real leadership to their business. In the original Star Trek Captain Kirk was always having to get back to the ship. If he died the place would crumble. In the version with Captain Jean-Luc Picard he was less stressed and had a project management methodology. If he disappeared everyone knew their jobs and would get on with it. The business would survive.
Thanks to Craig Griffiths, Griffiths Creative
The Narrator – Bartleby the Scrivener
Bartleby is an excellent new employee who works day and night and his output is enormous. One day the narrator boss asks him to look at a small document and Bartleby says those famous lines, ” I would prefer not to.” Instead of questioning him or disciplining him for insubordination, he just gives the job to another scrivener. As Bartleby continues to refuse to do any work and stares at the walls, the narrator finally tries to fire Bartleby, but he won’t budge. The narrator moves his law office and leaves Bartleby behind. The new tenants are outraged and the narrator learns that Bartleby has been arrested for vagrancy and taken to the Tombs. The narrator visits him, but one day he finds him lying dead in the yard. The narrator always struck me as someone with compassion who did not want to discipline his employees.
Thanks to Mary Greenwood
M – James Bond
The top fictional boss pick for me would have to be M from the James Bond franchise. M’s enigmatic nature and no-nonsense policy for work is exactly what a boss should be. After all, M was in charge of 007 himself. M and the word “professional” pretty much go hand in hand; it didn’t matter what scenario was at hand or how M perceived his agents, just as long as the job was done. To be able to get your subordinates to trust you and follow your orders without giving your real name, age, location, etc. takes a lot of power and charisma. I am an entrepreneur and my own boss, but if I were to be following any orders, it would be from M.
Thanks to Michael Pesochinsky, GovernmentBargains
Commissioner James Gordan – DC Comics, Batman
My favorite fictional boss is Commissioner James Gordan from DC Comics’ Batman franchise. There’s nothing not to like about Commissioner Gordan. First of all, he works in a city where there’s a hazard around every single corner. If it’s not a psychotic villain with a clown smile out to take the entire city hostage, a freak earthquake, it’s the masked vigilante Batman that he has to deal with on a constant basis. Also, even amidst all the threats on his own life, he has time to look out for his fellow officers, his friends and family. Not many people can hold up in terms of daily stress, both physical and mental, and the fact that Commissioner Gordan hasn’t gone berserk-and instead consciously chooses to be even more humble and righteous-he’s really someone you can truly admire.
Thanks to Ian Aronovich, GovernmentAuctions
Charles Townsend – Charlie’s Angels
Charles Townsend is my favorite fictional boss. Most people know this man as “Charlie,” the boss of the trio of women known as “Charlie’s Angels.” This man is so on top of things that he doesn’t have to physically show himself to get anything done. Not only does he not have to physically be anywhere, he also doesn’t even need to show his face. Honestly, simply using his brain and voice to order people around and fight crime is just too cool to not make Charlie my favorite.
Thanks to Eli Israel, Foreclosure Magic