Not everyone can be or should be the Valedictorian or Salutatorian
A key attribute in both the classroom and the boardroom is the recognition that not everyone needs to, can be or should be the valedictorian and salutatorian. Valedictorians in business are the colleagues who can “see” into the future and plan a roadmap of success. Salutatorians are the voice that precedes the plan; they are the announcers who get everyone on board even before they learn what they are going to be doing. The rest of the people, whether we call them colleagues, subordinates, worker bees, etc., are the folks that actually do the work required to achieve the goals.
There is no "we" in Individualism
Although it is always important to recognize and build a team atmosphere it is absolutely imperative to recognize and reward individualism. Failure to see the importance of each individual will ascertain that great ones seek out new opportunities for recognition elsewhere. This holds true for all persons in the organization, leaders and subordinates, regardless of their position or status.
Honor those who achieve more then the accepted standard
It is important to honor these individuals through recognition, responsibility and compensation. Honoring their efforts through these avenues helps to ensure that they will stay on with the company and continue to foster ground level progress that is so critical to success. In addition it is not uncommon for these individuals to grow into the future leadership team as they hone their skills and expertise under the guidance of the current leaders.
Remember, not everyone is a leader, everyone is an individual and some individuals perform above and beyond expectations