a/the fish rots from the head down

a/the fish rots from the head down

proverb Trouble or failure in an organization can be traced back to its leader(s). The board has to get rid of the CEO for the good of the company. I mean, a fish obviously rots from the head down. A: "I just found out that my boss got caught embezzling." B: "Huh. I guess a fish rots from the head down." Of course the department is in total disarray—their new manager is completely incompetent, and a fish rots from the head down.
See also: down, fish, head, rot
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