When it comes to male leads in K-dramas, there are a heck of them that end up being bosses. You can call it a cliché, but there’s something about CEOs, managers, and supervisors exuding charisma that really make us dig the storyline. Here’s a look at 11 K-drama bosses who many seem to love.
1. “Kkondae Intern”
Park Hae Jin plays Ga Yeol Chan, the head of the marketing team at a company. Yeol Chan spent several years working hard to get to his current position. He started as an intern for Lee Man Shik (Kim Eung Soo) and detested having to work under the man. Lee Man Shik treated him like dirt and would take every opportunity to run him to the ground. So when Lee Man Shik shows up at Yeol Chan’s company years later as an intern, Yeol Chan makes it his mission to treat his old boss the way he was treated.
Ga Yeol Chan worked so hard and went through a lot of obstacles to get to the position of being a manager. Because he was able to understand what it was like being an intern and having a mean boss, when he became one, he made sure to treat his employees with respect. Yeol Chan’s leadership style involves not making his employees work late and making sure that they have a great work life balance. He puts no pressure on his workers, which would make him awesome to have as a boss.
If you haven’t started already, watch “Kkondae Intern” now:
This romantic comedy stars Park Bo Young, Park Hyung Sik, Ji Soo, and a bunch of hilarious supporting actors. The K-drama follows the story of Do Bong Soon (Park Bo Young), a young woman gifted with super-human strength. She falls in love with the CEO of a gaming company named Ahn Min Hyuk and is offered a job to be his bodyguard.
Ahn Min Hyuk is a young CEO and is passionate about his job. He’s also got no problems hiring a woman as a bodyguard, which obviously makes him pretty cool. But the best quality about Min Hyuk is that he’s not afraid to show his feelings for Do Bong Soon when he falls in love with her. He wears his heart on his sleeve and makes it known to his workers that he’s in love with her. On top of this, it’s pretty cool that he owns a gaming company, isn’t it?!
Start watching “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” here:
3. “She Was Pretty”
“She Was Pretty” stars Hwang Jung Eum as Kim Hye Jin, a woman who used to be very put together and popular with the boys as a kid, but grows up caring a little less about her appearance. She gets a chance at a magazine company where she reunites with her first love, Ji Sung Joon (Park Seo Joon). Sung Joon had been madly in love with Hye Jin when he was younger, but is now unable to recognize her as an adult.
Ji Sung Joon isn’t the nicest boss on the block at first, but he definitely becomes quite the heartthrob after he realizes the Kim Hye Jin he works with is actually his first love. He starts to work together with his employees as a team and takes other people’s ideas into consideration. Before, he would be quick to put his workers down, but after finding love, he becomes a great listener and much more patient. It helps when your boss is a softie at heart.
Catch the first episode of “She Was Pretty”:
4. “Lucky Romance”
Starring Hwang Jung Eum as Shim Bo Nui, Ryu Jun Yeol as Je Soo Ho, and Lee Soo Hyuk as Gary Choi, “Lucky Romance” tells the story of a woman who has been faced with a lot of bad luck in her life.
Bo Nui works a million part-time jobs in order to make ends meet and to help pay hospital bills, since her little sister is in the hospital. She comes to meet Je Soo Ho and is offered a job at his gaming company. The two butt heads at first, but Soo Ho comes to realize that he has very strong feelings for her.
Je Soo Ho is a genius with a lot of great ideas, which is why his company is so successful. He’s not concerned with wealth but is passionate about his job. His logic is his strength, but after he meets and falls in love with Bo Nui, he becomes the complete package. Soo Ho does not care about what other people think about his love for Bo Nui. His persistence is also very admirable as he tries hard to win the heart of Bo Nui even after she thinks he’s better off without her.
Start watching “Lucky Romance”:
Kim Mi So (Park Min Young) decides that it’s time for her to quit her job of being a secretary to Lee Young Joon (Park Seo Joon) in hopes of pursuing her dreams of finding a husband and starting a family. After being pretty dependent on her for a while, Young Joon can’t accept that she will be leaving and ends up proposing that they get married.
Lee Young Joon is an arrogant boss. He’s self-absorbed and isn’t really concerned with what’s going on around him, but he is pretty generous when it comes to employee benefits. Lee Young Joon likes to take care of his employees and although he’s not always around when they have dinners or parties, he does make sure that they get the best treatment with the best service. He does not mess around!
Start watching “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim”:
6. “Secret Garden”
This classic series stars Hyun Bin as Kim Ju Won and Ha Ji Won as Gil Ra Im. Gil Ra Im is a stuntwoman who accidentally meets the CEO of a department store named Kim Ju Won. Although the two are repulsed by each other at first, they slowly start to fall in love with each other. The two find it difficult to be with each other because of their respective backgrounds, but they still fight to be together.
Seeing Kim Ju Won basically put his heart on the line for Gil Ra Im is the sweetest thing a jerk of a boss could ever do. He seems cold and strictly business, but after falling in love, you really see how sensitive he is. Kim Ju Won becomes a relatable boss after he falls in love, which is why we really can’t help but love him.
Start watching “Secret Garden”:
7. “Kill Me Heal Me”
“Kill Me Heal Me” is about a wealthy man named Cha Do Hyun (Ji Sung) who struggles with multiple personality disorder as a result of a traumatic experience he had as a child. To be more specific, he has seven personalities, one of which is also in love with the female lead, Oh Ri Jin (Hwang Jung Eum).
Having a boss like Cha Do Hyun would be entertaining to say the least. You would never know which personality he has on that given day, which would make it pretty difficult for him to order you around. Also, because Cha Do Hyun suffers from a mental illness, he’s super understanding and patient. He’s slow to anger and isn’t one to complain much. Having a soft-spoken boss is pretty relaxing to have and you won’t have to worry about being taken advantage of!
Start watching “Kill Me Heal Me”:
8. “Master’s Sun”
Gong Hyo Jin plays Tae Gong Sil, a girl who barely gets enough sleep at night because she’s constantly being pestered by dead people wanting her to do things for them. She meets Joo Joong Won (So Ji Sub) and finds out that when she touches him, she doesn’t see the dead people. The two start off despising each other, but because Gong Sil is able to find peace when she’s around Joong Won, she’s pretty clingy. The two embark on a weird relationship and somehow end up falling in love with each other.
Joo Joong Won is a bit of an oddball, but he’s got a heart of gold. He seems like the type of character who would never fall for a girl like Gong Sil, but he does. The best part about Joong Won is that he follows his heart when it comes to love and doesn’t doubt it. It’s an admiring quality and one that we really didn’t expect from the handsome CEO!
Catch the first episode of “Master’s Sun”:
9. “Coffee Prince”
“Coffee Prince” is about a tomboy named Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) who gets a part-time job at a coffee shop owned by Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo). The two leads end up in a complicated relationship where Han Kyul falls in love with Eun Chan while thinking she’s a boy, and Eun Chan doesn’t want to reveal her real gender to Han Kyul. It’s a whirlwind of a romance.
When you have a boss that looks like Han Kyul, it would definitely be hard to focus on your job, which is very much the problem Go Eun Chan faces. Having someone like Han Kyul as a boss is like winning the lottery. He’s not only very understanding, but he also tries to be your friend. He’s the type of boss who is fun to hang out with even outside of work, which is very rare. He’s not judgmental and is always willing to help his employees out even if the problems are pretty personal.
Start watching “Coffee Prince”:
10. “1% Of Something”
Lee Jae In (Ha Seok Jin) is forced to be in a relationship with Kim Da Hyun (Jun So Min) in hopes of attaining his grandfather’s inheritance. The two are total opposites in character, but they decide to go through with a six month contract relationship with some added requests. They bicker, fight, and can’t see eye-to-eye on most things, but they somehow manage to find a way into each other’s hearts.
Lee Jae In can come off as being pretty typical in terms of being a chaebol. He’s arrogant and can appear to be pretty apathetic, but he really does care deep down inside. He especially has a soft spot for kids and doesn’t like to see them sad or hurt. You gotta love a guy who loves kids!
Catch the first episode of “1% Of Something”:
11. “Itaewon Class”
Park Sae Roy (Park Seo Joon) has been through a lot in his young life. His father was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident, he was expelled from school, and he was sentenced to jail for three years. All this tragedy happened as a result of one family that owns the biggest restaurant chain in Korea. After getting out of jail, Sae Roy swears that he will get revenge and decides to open up his own restaurant called Dan Bam.
Yes, this is the third title with the wonderful Park Seo Joon as the male lead. He does play CEO characters an awful lot, but he also happens to be SO good at it, so we’re really not complaining, right? Park Seo Joon as Park Sae Roy could NOT be passed on this list. He’s the boss that everyone would want on their side. He is never scared to stand up for his employees and he never gives up on them even when they want to give up on themselves. Sae Roy goes above and beyond the call of duty for a boss and he becomes your friend in the process too. The love!
Hey Soompiers, which of these K-drama bosses is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “My Unfamiliar Family” and “Heart Signal 3”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen