Bosses I have known and (not always truly) loved: The Shizzle

The Shizzle

The Shizzle. Otherwise known as: The Shizz; The/Da Bomb; The Don; The Shit; The Shizzle fo’ rizzle. You get the picture. This type of boss is pretty damn good at what they do — in fact, they’re the very best of the best.

This week, I’m prepared to ‘out’ the bosses in question, so here we go, in the order that I encountered them through my career: John Poorta, Ali Bucknall, Simon Clemmow and Rita Clifton. Legends, every one of them!

When I developed this segment, I inherently wanted to spell it as ‘The Schizzle’ but Urban Dictionary made it very clear that only “people who like to complicate stuff” would do that to the original word ‘shizzle’. Ahem. So, in we go…

Key characteristics

• A wise and knowing face, coupled with a calm and caring disposition — often a parent • Been around many blocks (i.e. life experience rather than ‘notches on the bedpost’) • Not always the most stylish in the room, more focused on the integrity of the work • Often has a hallmark tic — e.g. beard stroke; runs hand through fringe; hums quietly • Unfaltering gravitas, from the boardroom all the way to the obligatory PTA meeting*.

• Quite shy and reserved deep down, and typically modest for such an 

Most likely to…

• Automatically qualify for the best office — genius needs space to breathe
 • Be disarmingly self-deprecating during small talk — e.g. “I’m not pregnant, just fat.”
 • Terrify the client (in a good way) and be their undeniable agency crush
 • Crack the idea in a doodle/scribble while the briefing is just about 
getting started
 • Attend social gatherings but tactfully vanish before it gets really messy 
 • Be everyone’s favourite work travel partner, for the stories and the razor sharp wit

Tips for upward management

• Act like a sponge and learn, learn, learn from them, while you can
 • Become their ‘go to’ for desk research, insights, case studies, 
errands, anything!
 • Get their feedback on your every doc/deck/project/insight/move, and action it
 • Listen and marvel the inner workings of that brilliant mind for tips, tactics and tricks
 • Ask them to be your mentor, before someone else does — for this job 
and beyond
 • Stay close, as one day they might just want to hand down the mantle…

* PTA meeting stands for ‘Parent Teacher Association’. You know, those evenings when parents have to go into the school and hear about how well their children are doing (or not) from the teachers.

The end is nigh

This marks the end of The Bosses series. A big thank you to all of those bosses who provided me with inspiration, musings and anecdotes to draw upon for your reading pleasure. ☺

Michelle x

Originally published at