YOUR office may have a superstar, the high-flier who exudes power in every step he takes, but managing such a big-hitter can be a delicate job for any boss.

Generally, such superstars are well regarded and rewarded but that means the rest of the staff have to play catch-up while the under-performers are likely to be booted out.

Tension, it hardly needs to be said, can easily result.

'You need high-level ambassadors who will rise to the top of your organisation and go beyond to help build excellence across the nation as a whole,' says Mr Gary Miles, principal consultant for human resource at Roffey Park, a leadership institute based in Britain and Singapore.

'However, not everyone can be a superstar and there is a need for a group of solid core contributors who still do an invaluable job for their enterprises.'

Mr David Leong, managing director of PeopleWorldwide Consulting, adds: 'Star performers set benchmark standards and expectations. They are put as examples for others to follow.

'Workplace competition is unavoidable and in the survival of the fittest, the competition will bring out ingenuities and exceptional performance in individuals.'

In some extreme cases, companies systematically eliminate the bottom 10 per cent to 15 per cent of their workforce - the laggards and non-performers - so that better replacements can be found to drive businesses, he says.

'This type of laggard elimination spurs individuals to perform and to be wary of competitors,' notes Mr Leong.

The superstar may think he is superior to others. Because he is competitive, he will pick the most high-profile work available or do whatever it takes to stay in the limelight.

But he needs to know that he does not work alone.

'Take a football analogy. The big centre forward No. 9 scores 30 goals a season and gets all the accolades and is considered a hero,' says former premiership referee Ray Bigger, who is also the managing director of training and consultancy firm Think8.

'Yet a physically smaller player, No. 8, a midfielder who does a lot of running, ball getting and intercepting, should get just as much credit for he is the oil that keeps the big guns firing. The manager does the blending.'

Not everyone can be a star nor should everyone be one. In fact, some experts think superstars are not needed.

Mr James Reed, United Kingdom-based chairman of recruitment agency Reed, who was in Singapore recently, said of his firm: 'We are very transparent so that may encourage competition. But you have to manage that aspect of it, rather than encourage it. Otherwise, you have a superstar culture and that's no fun.

'You will have big egos. A lot of companies end up massaging the egos of a few star performers. You are then sending the subtle message that revenue is better than a collaborative culture and there will then be a toxic culture.'

Ms Deepali Chaturvedi, head of South-east Asia at Reed Specialist Recruitment, stresses that the firm does not want to have just a couple of star performers.

'It's not healthy and most people do not like to be in such an environment for long,' she says.

'It's important to build a stable team as it's about shared goals. It's been a key differentiator for us as a lot of our competitors have a competitive environment.

'This is actually the bedrock of my hiring policy. I've turned away very high performers because I felt that they would be toxic to my environment.'

That could explain the very low attrition rate Reed enjoys here.

Singapore-based Ms Chaturvedi adds: 'If you have a highly politicised and competitive environment, there will be a situation where people around the stars will never be able to flourish and these people will leave.'

The scary bit is that the business will be reliant on one or two people, which the rest will resent. And if the superstars leave, they may take away all your business.

So the best deal may be to collaborate - at least within the organisation.

'I always believe that the business is bigger than any one individual so you have to remind them to be real and to collaborate, and that the competition is outside the firm,' notes Ms Chaturvedi.

'By all means, compete with other businesses but don't try to be better than your own colleagues.'

A recent Vanity Fair article talked about the management system at Microsoft known as 'stack ranking' that effectively crippled the company's ability to innovate.

The system forced every unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, good performers, average and poor. A former software employee was quoted as saying that it led to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than on competing with other companies.

While Mr Miles is all for what he calls healthy internal competition, he says there is a need to create a common purpose that brings everyone together to mobilise the organisation to be stronger and more innovative than its rivals.

'Where internal competition becomes unhealthy and damaging to the organisation is when individuals focus so much on competing against each other within the enterprise, that they lose sight of the bigger picture and the need to focus on dealing with external competition,' he says.

Where there are superstars, they should be mindful that they are working for the team or company.

'If people see little or no collaboration, they will revert to looking after their own interests and may leave,' says Mr Bigger.