A closer look at the Gatekeepers


In a world of influence and power, one should not deny the role of Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers are those individuals that stand right in the middle of moving forward or waiting. They can be found in just about any category and may range from managers and politicians to community leaders. Usually, they are highly influential and exert a level of power in their respective groups, organisations or communities.

Gatekeepers are also, at times, associated with particular interests or passions [1]. In some cases, they are even in control of the resources, which may affect how much you can access them. In recent times technology and social media have been part of the gatekeeper community, and further, there are even gatekeeper companies.[2]

Our relationship with gatekeepers matters because it can affect how we advance in specific areas of interest, whether from a personal growth perspective or in our organisational settings. However, there will be moments of challenges and one would need to look at some approaches that can support the ability to engage with the gatekeepers to progress together.

This article sees the gatekeepers from the perspective of being highly influential and having the influence to make things happen. Hence the need to establish a mutual relationship and invest the time to make it work so that one can find it easier to progress through an influential network.

Here is how to get closer to the Gatekeepers to accelerate growth

  • Know who the gatekeepers are

The first step is to know the highly influential gatekeepers based on your interests and level of work. This is so because you need to know them and establish a relationship. It may require you to do some research and have some levels of interaction, such as reaching out to them to start setting up the foundation for a mutual relationship.

  • Establish a good relationship

Following the previous point, you would want to ensure that the relationship between you and the gatekeepers is mutual and that there is access when you need to engage. An established relationship with access is critical because it allows you to reach the right individuals when you need to. It also adds to the list of key partners in your line of interest or business.

  • Invest in your gatekeeper’s relationship

This refers to keeping a cordial relationship and including the gatekeepers in some of your primary activities. Allowing them to be involved in areas of their interest, for example, can make them feel you recognise them and are willing to lend your support in what they are passionate about. Additionally, from your perspective, consider engaging gatekeepers in some of your planning, especially those you anticipate may pique their interest and allow the activities to progress within their category. In other words, spend time with them, be visible and make them visible too. Remember, they are influential so include them as necessary.

  • Be intentional in listening

Listen to the gatekeepers! This would give deeper insight and understanding of the gatekeeper. With any or all interactions, you can see reason, allowing you to interact with them more precisely because you now understand how they think and even the things they prefer to give a free pass. What if what you intend can get free access? This information may be new to you and can help you progress. The last thing on your mind is not to be able to move forward with your plans; having the opportunity to engage more collaboratively can create some ease.

  • Identify magnets for the Gatekeepers

Propose innovative ideas to the gatekeepers and learn what is important to them. From previous interactions, you may be aware of some things that interest them, be it technological advancement, protecting the children and the earth, sanitation or improving infrastructure. If you are also interested in these areas, it can be a magnet to the relationship. Because now you may have a more substantial backing to work with. Before approaching, you may plan to convince the gatekeeper of the project through the different elements of the proposal and have them support you to get the resources you need to act. An unintended positive effect may be that the gatekeeper’s external network may be the right one for you.

  • Never fight with the Gatekeepers

A fight? Not a wise thing to do. Some Gatekeepers have a strong network that trusts in them. Usually, these networks form heavy support when the gatekeeper may need advice for a particular issue. Because of the trust the support system gives, they will come forward in support of the gatekeeper. While you might not be wrong in what you are addressing, it can still be a significant situation to deal with. This can negatively affect you personally or professionally, leading to stifled growth or a complete halt on your plan or project.

In learning how to establish a better relationship with the Gatekeepers, sometimes it may just work in your favour, so if you are already there regarding how you have established your relationship with gatekeepers, kudos. However, if you have learned a few approaches from this article, give it a try and see how you progress.

Improvement takes time.

Please look out for the next article!


[1] Definition 1

[2] Definition 2

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