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Submitted by bpreuss on


Has anyone had experience with using an NPS Manager score, asking if employees would recommend their manager to others within the company?

It seems this may be on the right track as it is a method to measure the success of relationships - but how much they recommend you could be based on a wide variety of reasons, some valuable/effective for the organization and some perhaps even detrimental. 

Other metrics for measuring a manager may be more about effectiveness (e.g. retention of the team, growth of the team, etc.) and results rather than reputation - but are not as directly targeting relationships. Any other measures out there?

Looking for others experiences and thoughts. 

Chris Zeller's picture
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I can't say that I've experienced this before and it strikes me that an NPS score for managers introduces a lot of subjectivity; it comes primarily from managers' direct reports. It also lends itself to a small sample size. Both of these dilute the effectiveness of the tool.

Adtiionally, what the organization wants and needs from its managers is likely to be different than what individuals like about their particular boss. The same objective behaviors can be characterized differently based on perspective. Examples below to illustrate the point.

Net/net, I don't think that you get enough of an ROI in terms of actionable, valuable, insight that helps you understand who your best managers are and why they are the best. The resources tied up in creating, administering, tabulating, and searching for meaning in an NPS Management Score are better deployed teaching everyone to focus on behaviors and to provide specific examples of those behaviors in action and the effects/results that they have on the team and organization.


Given a typical NPS survey question: "How likely are you to recommend your manager to a peer of yours on a different team?"

Given objective behaviors: (1) Manager schedules and requires that the team participate in weekly 30 minute one one ones; (2) Manager provides realtime feedback about the things that I say and do and they effect that they have (3) Manager sets clear deadlines with specific tasks to be accomplished, requests status updates, and delivers consequences when those deadlines are missed.

Different direct reports could have different takes that go unaccounted for in an NPS evaluation.

Possible Interpretations

1. "My manager is a micro-manager who is constantly checking up on me as if they don't trust me to do my job. They are listening to everything and I say and keep telling me to do things differently. I can't be my authentic self. When things that are out of my control go wrong, I'm the one that gets blamed and unfairly punished." NPS Score = 3 out of 10, would not recommend.

2. "My manager has high expectations and holds me accountable. They make sure that I'm on track to deliver what I'm responsible for and are constantly offering suggestions about how I can be more effecitve in my role. Regular meetings have helped us develop a strong, open relationship and I'm blown away by how much they care about the team and about me individually." NPS Score 9 out of 10, would definitely recommend.

Then there's the flip side in which the manager does none of the behaviors noted above and gets high scores because "My boss is great. They let me set my own goals and trust me to do what I believe is best in order to do my job. Meetings are kept to a minimum and we only talk when we have to." NPS Score 7 out of 10.