Ranked: Best & Worst Fictional Bosses Of All Time

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Figurines of Darth Vader and Storm Troopers from the Star Wars franchise

Horrible bosses can be loads of fun when they’re not real!

From Suits to the Simpsons, we crunched the numbers to reveal the world’s most loved and hated fictional bosses. To develop our definitive ranking, we created a list of the most searched screen bosses and managers from SEMrush. We ranked them from best to worst according to their number of positive and negative reactions on social media.   

The world’s most loved and hated fictional bosses

RankingFictional BossOrigin1Darth VaderStar Wars Saga2Professor FarnsworthFuturama3Richard WebberGrey’s Anatomy4Mr BurnsThe Simpsons5Harvey SpecterSuits6Iron ManMarvel Universe7Vito CorleoneThe Godfather Saga8Jim GordonThe Dark Night Rises9MJames Bond Universe10President Josiah “Jed” BartletThe West Wing11Princess LeiaStar Wars Saga12Santa ClauseThe world13Jethro GibbsNCIS14Sheriff Andy TaylorThe Andy Griffith Show15Obi-Wan KenobiStar Wars Saga16Bruce WayneBatman Universe17Michael ScottThe Office US18Professor Albus DumbledoreHarry Potter19Captain Ray HoltBrooklyn Nine-Nine

Data sourced from SEMRush and BuzzSumo

Bad bosses and employee retention

Most people have thought about leaving their job because of a bad boss.

In the US, 82% of people say they would quit because of a bad manager, while 67% say not being respected at work is the main reason they resigned last year. In the UK, 53% of people say they’re planning to leave their job soon because of a bad manager, and in Australia, 3 in 10 people admit to actively disliking their manager.

A direct manager’s impact on employee retention can’t be emphasised enough. Lack of soft skills, failure to listen, and unapproachable or passive-aggressive behaviour can lead to a toxic workplace and impact whether talent chooses to stay or leave.

A focus on management is more critical than ever, with 1 in 5 people planning on leaving their job in the next 12 months and online searches for ‘quiet quitting’ increasing by 3750% in the last month.  

What are the Traits of a Good Manager?

Most of the fictional bosses on our list are prime examples of how not to lead a team, but if you’re looking for a few ways to be a more approachable manager, read on:

Good soft skills

According to a LinkedIn survey, leadership soft skills are one of the most critical skills a manager needs to succeed, and they outrank both verbal communication and teamwork skills.

Builds relationships

Around 86% of employees feel that lack of collaboration and communication is the leading cause of workplace failures, and 71% feel more productive when establishing a solid connection with their colleagues.

Mentors the team

80% of people that receive workplace coaching notice an increase in self-confidence, and 70% see an improvement in work performance and communication skills.

Leads with empathy

One of the main reasons people leave a job is from lack of empathy from bosses and managers, and nearly a third of UK adults consider this the essential trait they want in a manager.

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