I often find that we operate in the world of the lowest common denominator. We hesitate to recognize excellence. We try to keep things equal and on an even keel by operating at a low level and wind up fostering mediocrity.
My son Aaron was a great and hardworking student and was named valedictorian of his high school class. It was an honor that he worked for and deserved. A few years later we were disappointed to learn that the school board had eliminated the distinction because the students were too competitive.
When a person is successful and going the extra mile, they deserve special recognition. You should invest in them in every way you can. This means your time and every training, development and stretch opportunity that you can devise.
In most instances, there is a strong correlation between effort and results. I never hesitate to applaud top performance because it almost always results from a great effort.