The Don or Upper Boss is the brain and leader of a crime family. The boss receives a cut of every operation taken on by every member of his family. Depending on the family, the boss may be chosen by a vote from the caporegimes of the family. In the event of a tie, the underboss must vote. In the past, all the members of a family voted on the boss, but by the late 1950s, any gathering such as that usually attracted too much attention. Sometimes the Don chooses his successor.
Typically, a Don will put layers of insulation between himself and any acts. Whenever he gives orders, he gives them in private to either his underboss, consigliere or one of his capos, who in turn pass them down the line.