Author John Maxwell once wrote, “Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” This is true. The world of K-Pop has seen countless idol groups and leaders — yet some of them have become more memorable than others, thanks to their distinguishable leadership skills. These five idols have empowered their teammates, led the team to success, and rightfully earned their spots on this list of top 5 strongest K-Pop boy group leaders, as ranked by K-Pop fans themselves.
5. BTS’s RM
He not only helps with lots of their music, he’s also their spokesperson and lead face of the group in America when he’s not even a native speaker. A speech at the United Nations of all places in a foreign language in a foreign country, spreading an incredible message with a speech he wrote himself.
— Reddit @gemitry
K-Pop fans have been awed by BTS‘s growth into an international superstar boy group. And in the center of that glory is RM‘s leadership. Several of BTS’s acquaintances have revealed that RM has what it takes to not only keep BTS together, but also together at the top. He is, in fact, the most prime example of “a leader who empowers, not controls”.
4. NU’EST’s JR
It’s absolutely admirable how through all the shit thrown at him throughout his career, he has maintained such a good character (selflessness, kindness, sincerity, a good attitude towards work etc), [to] become the type of radiant leader who illuminates others and also manages to produce quality performances regardless of challenges.
— Reddit @deepsapphites
NU’EST JR‘s sense of leadership became even more widely appreciated and praised by K-Pop fans when he appeared on Produce 101 Season 2. Not only did JR act as a supporting pillar for his own group, he was the go-to hyung and friend for the more rookie trainees on the show. His big heart, often worn on his face as his big smile, has left K-Pop fans rooting for his victory.
3. Super Junior’s Leeteuk
I’m not a huge [Super Junior] fan, but what Leeteuk went through was beyond that of a normal leader. He has my vote as strongest leader in K-Pop.
— Reddit @whitewatermelon
Super Junior is another long-running boy group from the second generation of K-Pop. The group has seen all the highs and lows, during their 15 years together since their debut in 2005. While Leeteuk’s work in holding the group together through the countless scandals is noteworthy, that is not the main reason K-Pop fans find him strong. Even when Leeteuk faced personal hardship — one of the most tragic in K-Pop — he still kept himself together for the team.
2. SEVENTEEN’s S.Coups
He works to be a good leader to the twelve other members of his group. That in itself is such an extreme pressure, and I’m sure there’s extra weight since Seventeen does so much of their own writing, composing, and choreography… To be the go-between for the group and the company must be exhausting.
— Reddit @nothingsaidalice
SEVENTEEN can be a lot to take in, even for the most loving Carats, thanks to their thirteen-membered shenanigans boosted with each member’s personality so unique. Yet S.Coups, as their leader, has done outstanding work with keeping the team united and composed. Now SEVENTEEN have become a reliable, role-model group of sunbaes to the rising boy groups.
1. SHINHWA’s Eric
Eric is literally the reason Shinhwa is still whole. He kept getting offered tons of money for solo contracts and kept turning them down because he wanted the group to stay together. He fought like hell to keep the Shinhwa name…
— Reddit @HaruNevermind
SHINHWA, a legendary idol group from the very first generation of K-Pop, actually still remain a team. Since their debut in 1998, for over two decades, SHINHWA have stayed together without losing or switching a single member — boasting an unrivaled and unbreakable teamwork under the leadership of Eric.