For many workers, it's the most feared, dreaded moment -- the showdown with the boss. Which probably explains why such confrontations are usually the high point in the popular reality show "Undercover Boss." Viewers get to see that moment when an employee speaks truth to power -- or the boss realizes that he or she doesn't have a clue.
has followed "Undercover Boss" for the entire third season, and while the critics sometimes slam the show for being contrived, AOL Jobs
has found that there was much to learn from the best moments. Whether it was a CEO realizing that he had forgotten his franchisees telling him of their financial struggles
, or an exec finding out about workers' struggles to get vacation time approved
, the moments showed the bosses face-to-face with their own fallibility. And thanks to the drama, the chasm between the corner office and the on-the-ground worker is bridged -- at least for an episode. So what were the best moments in Season 3? Here are our top five picks:
1. Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio
DiZio, posing as "Michael Downs," a data entry processor appearing on a job-switch reality show, was understandably nervous when he visited his first job site. He vaguely recalled having met franchise owners Bill and his wife Donna two years earlier. But, as it becomes clear in this clip, he completely forgot what they had actually told him -- and so is forced to confront his own insensitivity as the boss.
2. TaylorMade CEO Sam Taylor
As the head of the country's top golf brand, Taylor is an unusual CEO. He's extremely blunt and even said during his appearance, "It's a challenge to get shrinking numbers to spend more money on a toy they don't need." And so when an employee, Teresa, tells the man she thinks is named "Al Bauer," about her bucket list and dream of visiting Australia, Taylor does something few other bosses on the show do and comes clean on who he is.
3. Yankee Candle CEO Harlan Kent
While most bosses are clueless when in the field, Kent is at ease working in his candle company's wax stations. A little too much at ease. So all the ingredients are in place when working with employee Blaze, who already showed himself to be a wiseacre when he told the man he thought was named Dan Johnson, an out-of-work chef appearing on a second chances reality show, that he sometimes felt like "punching" the 8-year olds at the store.
4. Popeyes Chief Talent Officer Lynne Zapone
While posing as "Pam Hawkins," the subject of a "job swap" reality show, Zappone learns the disturbing news from Josh that many employees feel abandoned by the company, post-Hurricane Katrina. But she is relieved to find out that Josh's coworkers accept the fact that he is gay, even while his family abandoned him. But the company at large does little more for him, we learn, as he decides where to eat his lunch.
5. Checkers CEO Rick Silva
On a site visit to a branch in Homestead, Fla., Silva had no choice but to take dramatic action. Posing as "Alex Garcia," he discovers that the speaker system at the drive-through is broken, buttons are mislabeled and branch manager Stevens is "barking orders." So he steps in and delivers some big news.
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Dan Fastenberg has more than a decade of experience working as a journalist. Most recently he was a reporter with TIME Magazine covering politics with analyst Mark Halperin. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America. Follow Dan on Twitter. Email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Add Dan to your Google+ circles.