12 Fictional Bosses Who Can Teach You How To Come Out On Top

Who's the boss? Why, Melissa McCarthy is of course. In McCarthy's new movie, The Boss, she plays wealthy mogul Michelle Darnell, who gets busted for insider trading only to get her mojo back by selling brownies. Yes, brownies become her new moneymaker, which is pretty smart. While the movie's supposed to be funny, there's nothing funny about McCarthy's portrayal of a female boss who knows what it takes to be the best, who works hard to regain her position at the top of the business world. In fact, it's pretty admirable. You may even find yourself laughing and taking notes at the same time.

But Michelle Darnell, one of the richest women in the world, isn't the only fictional female boss who's graced the big screen. Not even close. That's why I rounded up 12 women who showed us all what it's like to be a boss. All are very different in their approach to leading, but all are prime examples of women doing it for themselves. Women I'd be more than happy to work for. Yes, I'd even work for a boss from hell like Miranda Priestly.

These women run their worlds, and I think they could help you run yours, too.

1. M In James Bond

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The first woman to head up the MI6 organization is basically a mystery, which makes her someone to respect and to definitely fear. But it's no secret that she was more than willing to stand by her agents whenever they needed her to. And boy, did Bond, James Bond, need her to with all the shenanigans he would pull in her time in charge.

2. Jules Ostin in The Intern


Jules Ostin is founder and CEO of her own e-commerce clothing site, About The Fit. She's young and rides her bike through the office, but she's also in a world where women aren't always respected. That's something she won't stand for, which may make her come off as hard to some, but she's really just strong. She's trying to figure out how to run her own company one day at a time. Got to respect that.

3. General Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Leia is no longer a princess; she's a general in charge of the rebellion in a galaxy far, far away. Since planets are being literally blown up all around her, there's a lot of pressure on her to get things back to normal. She's basically on her own, the future of the rebellion all on her shoulders, and though she seems a little tense she manages to stay calm, cool, and collected as things go down. Her eyes are on the prize because she knows she's our only hope.

4. Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

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Sure, working for the editor-in-chief of Runway Magazine will likely make your life a living hell, but, if you make it through, you'll come out on top. Working for her is like a crash course in publishing and in fashion. She doesn't have time for your feelings; she's got a magazine to run. This won't make her a great boss at the time you're actually working for her, but she's someone who can do big things for your career if you can just get through that full year.

5. Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter Series


The headmistress of Hogwarts and teacher is there for her students, even in times of battle. She raised her wand and put her life on the line to defend the students against Dolores Umbridge and Voldemort, showing her students that one should never back down against those who threaten what they love.

6. Rose Lindsey in Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead

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The head of General Apparel West (GAW) may have been a bit too trusting, since she did hire a teenager with a fake resume to be her assistant. But maybe Rose just knows talent when she sees it and doesn't care about anything else. Even after she realizes Sue Ellen Crandell has lied to her, she offers her a job as a fashion designer. That's loyalty and why you'll want to be right on top of anything Rose needs, just like Sue Ellen was.

7. Tess McGill in Working Girl

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This hardworking secretary from Staten Island showed women of the '80s that, to break the glass ceiling, you can't give up. And, perhaps, you have to take advantage of the little opportunities that come your way. Sometimes this means moving in on a new job when your boss breaks her leg — but her big break may also be yours. Never forget that.

8. Diana Christensen in Network

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The head of programming at Union Broadcasting System isn't afraid of a little controversy. Especially if it will lead to a hit. This woman understood what the people wanted, which was more reality based content on their televisions. Diana Christensen was ahead of her time. She didn't always make the best decisions, but she showed that being unafraid to fail can help get you to the top.

9. Dr. Grace Augustine in Avatar

This no-nonsense xenobotanist was famous for writing a book about the plants of Pandora that made her a living legend. She also became known for starting a school that would help the settlers of Pandora, called the Na'vi, learn English and human culture. She looked to broker peace while others wished to lead by force. She was an outspoken opponent of the military's violent practices and lost her life because of it. But she's a woman you'd be happy to have called your boss.

10. Pepper Potts in Iron Man


Potts worked her way up from being Tony Stark's personal assistant to becoming the CEO of Stark Industries. While I don't recommend you date your boss (definitely a conflict of interest), Pepper has shown she knows what's best for the company and is a very good negotiator. Not to mention she seems to have a knack for sniffing out the bad guys and making them wish they'd never tried to put this "damsel" in distress.

11. Elaine Stein in The Help

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The editor for Harper & Row is the one who encourages Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan to write a book that confronts the racial injustices she sees right in front of her, to write about the things that matter, but others are too afraid to write about. As an editor in the '60s, Stein was an example of a modern woman who was independent and in charge of her life and her career. With her help, Skeeter leaves her small town behind for something so much bigger.

12. Phyllis Nefler from Troop Beverly Hills

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Sure, Phyllis Nefler may have come off as a bit spoiled and flighty. She seems like someone who's just interested in shopping and nothing more. But, when she takes over her daughter's Wilderness Troop, we see that she's got instincts for more than fashion. She's a born leader that can help you get your first aid badge and sell the most cookies. (Turns out a musical number helps.)

I know these women aren't real bosses, but that doesn't mean they can't inspire you to be a better boss. Think of watching their movies as the most interesting business course you'll ever take.

Image: Hopper Stone/Universal Studios; Giphy (3)