I was a motivational speaker for a large insurance sales organization, who had been through some (much needed )change, weeding out top sales performers.
The CEO suggested they used to have a, handful of heroes, who were the top sales people and tended to set the pace and run the show.
They were revered (and in some cases feared) by others. These superstars were given a lot more autonomy than others, and often flaunted it and took this for granted. Their egos often went overboard, and others were at the mercy of their arrogance.
The pace, tone and culture hinged on them, and this was a very dangerous position to be in. Eventually, senior leadership recognized the incongruence with the rest of the team and decided to do something about it. They removed some of their privledges, they stopped overly praising them, and instead, praised the team.
Eventually, the high achievers egos were too big to take a back seat, and they resigned. Next, the wise leaders decided to focus on process over people.
He suggested that when the emphasis is placed on the process of serving customers, heroes emerge who support customers and the team, and not the other way around.
Not until these large egos were gone, was it clear how much this, worshiping the hero mentality, had impacted morale. Those who worked hard and often supported others were completely ignored.
Weeding out weak performers and retaining top ones, is most sales managers goal. As a result, it is easy to fall into a culture that puts peak performers on a pedestal.