Playing devil’s advocate: The colleague from hell

We have all been there. A tough boss. A know-it-all employee. A suck-up colleague. While hospitality jobs can be a rich and rewarding experience, work colleagues can sometimes bring us down. It is therefore important that you know how to handle them and that you know where to go if it all gets a bit too much.

The worker types

Annoying work colleagues come in all shapes and sizes, but here are some types to look out for:

• The Alpha Goer: These individuals always want to be in charge and are very bossy. You will regret ever getting in their way, and the worst types are those who think they are talented, even when they are not.

• The Judas: These are the ones you cannot trust. You have divulged your work problems and they have then gone and made some trouble with it. Nobody likes a gossip, so keep your eyes about you.

• The Sloth: Teams can break down if someone chooses not to play their part. You will often encounter these individuals who will get others to do most of the work for them. The worst part is then when they claim credit.

• The Suck-up: Everyone wants to get in their boss' good books, but some just take it too far. These attention seekers try and nab all the promotions on offer and they often will annoy and stamp on anyone to get them.

• The Drama Queen: Some people just like a good moan. They will tell you how rubbish their life is and how much they hate work, which over time, may have a lasting effect on your positivity.

• The Bully: This is the worst kind. Going out their way to make you feel small, these people make you feel like you are in high school all over again.

Handling a hot handle

Whichever category your colleague falls into, it is important that you always rise above it and keep a cool head. The worst thing to do is get involved, so just listen, stay neutral and respond very little. If something is starting to annoy you, the best thing is to walk away from the situation calmly.

You need to acknowledge that you cannot 'change' someone, and so it is best to take the matter to HR if things really get out of hand. By trying to solve the issue, not only will you pile up added stress, but you may even throw yourself in the line of fire. By speaking to someone in HR or with a manager, you can deal with the issue head-on.

However, there may be ways to handle someone, if they fall in one of these categories. For example, you should approach the 'Judas' and ask them calmly to explain what accusations they have been making. As soon as they figure out that you have sussed them out, this should disarm them. Similarly, the 'Suck-up' can be handled by you doing one better and stealing the spotlight. Make good suggestions, work hard and divert your boss' attention. Not only will you diffuse an annoying employee but you may even get a promotion along the way.

Remember, never become as bad as the colleague you are trying to calm down. Instead, play your part in creating a happy working environment for yourself and the rest of the taskforce.