The challenges in the preceding section ("Challenges") have their roots, not in expectations, but in unrealistic expectations. The tools in Frontiers and Boundaries are designed to help companies provide a clear, compelling, and easily accessible description of their decision-making systems. Frontiers and Boundaries follows a simple guiding principle: clarity is the best way to confront unrealistic expectations.
Many employees welcome the chance to learn about the expectations for their roles at the company. Middle managers and supervisors, in particular, are likely to be relieved to see that they will continue to have a role in the company and that employee-ownership will not simply be a way for them to work themselves out of their own jobs.
In fact, both workers and managers require a sense of security before a conversation about participation in decision making can begin. "Psychological safety" implies clarity about the scope of participation and how it will affect each individual's role in the company. We have found that the greatest barrier to psychological safety is not the magnitude or speed of change, but ambiguity.
Reducing ambiguity heads off common pitfalls -- and it is also the necessary first step in harnessing the potential power of employee ownership. Specific steps for increasing clarity and feelings of psychological safety among managers can be found in Section 6 of the Frontiers and Boundaries Handbook.