Revive the Gatekeeper role for the remote workforce! Within group dynamics, the “gatekeeper” denotes individuals responsible for regulating information flow and group participation. Over the years, this role has been referred to as the facilitator or moderator. No matter what we call it, We believe that this pivotal role is essential to ensure remote employees remain tethered to the organization and maintain a strong bond with their colleagues.
In a modern workplace where employees are distributed across various working models—onsite, hybrid, and remote—a Gatekeeper can serve as a critical bridge to ensure cohesiveness and productivity. By leveraging technology, fostering inclusivity, and establishing consistent communication channels, the Gatekeeper role for a remote workforce can facilitate an environment where all feel connected and engaged, irrespective of their physical work location.
In this article, we will begin exploring how the gatekeeper can facilitate or inhibit both the quality and quantity of interactions among remote team members. We will explore ways the role can be both beneficial and problematic, and delve into some basic Gatekeeper skills that are important to develop when working with remote, hybrid, and on-site employees. To learn more about strategies to help Gatekeepers support a remote team, check out our article: Gatekeepers for the win! Strategies for Staying Remote
Positive Aspects of the Gatekeeper
Here is a breakdown of how gatekeeper skills impact group dynamics, which can be translated as remote worker dynamics in the modern workplace, in a beneficial way.
Gatekeepers can make sure that all voices are heard, especially those that may be marginalized or quieter. They invite less vocal members to share their views, ensuring a more democratic discussion.
Focusing the Discussion
A gatekeeper can guide the conversation back to the main topic if it veers off course, thereby maintaining the group’s focus and efficiency.
By controlling who speaks, when, and for how long, gatekeepers can prevent monopolization of the discussion by a few vocal individuals, thus improving the quality of group decision-making.
Skilled gatekeepers can intervene in conflicts, redirecting the energy toward constructive solutions and maintaining a healthy group dynamic.
Gatekeepers can summarize points, seek clarification, and point out when new information may be necessary for informed decision-making.
Negative Aspects of the Gatekeeper
Just as there are two sides of a coin, there are also two sides to the role of Gatekeeper. Following are some ways an untrained Gatekeeper could negatively impact team dynamics and communication channels in a distributed workforce.
If not managed well, gatekeeping can result in the exclusion of certain voices, thereby negating the benefits of group interaction and shared decision-making.
The gatekeeper role can create or exacerbate a power imbalance within the group, potentially leading to an unhealthy dynamic.
Slowing Down Processes
Overzealous gatekeeping can make group processes bureaucratic, requiring approval or input from the gatekeeper before any action can be taken.
A gatekeeper who is too rigid or controlling can stifle creativity and discourage out-of-the-box thinking.
A gatekeeper can manipulate what information is deemed relevant, important, or even true, which can lead to poor decision-making.
For more on the negative impacts to remote workers, read our article: Invisible Workforce: Why Your Remote Employees Feel Left Out
Basic Skills for Effective Gatekeeping
Developing a specialized skill set is crucial for remote Gatekeepers to effectively bridge the gap between onsite, hybrid, and remote employees. Click each skill category below to explore important skill sets that would be particularly beneficial for the Gatekeeper to begin developing:
The ability to guide conversations without imposing one’s own opinions is crucial for fair gatekeeping.
The ability to resolve disputes between employees in different work models.
Being able to read and interpret emotional signals, even in a digital format, to identify conflicts before they escalate.
Understanding and respecting the diverse backgrounds of team members.
By developing these skill sets, a remote Gatekeeper can start to become a pivotal figure in creating a harmonious and productive work environment, regardless of where team members are located.
We provide training for leaders in the remote workplace setting to improve their ability to serve as the Gatekeeper! Learn more about our Remote Coach Certification.
Remote work has made the role of Gatekeepers indispensable in contemporary organizations. In a dispersed workforce, the task of maintaining cohesion, productivity, and positive group dynamics becomes complex and challenging.
Gatekeeper skills in remote worker and team dynamics are a double-edged sword. They can either facilitate effective collaboration and decision-making, or they can become a source of power imbalance and exclusion. Effective gatekeepers balance collaboration with the need for focus and direction, always aiming to enhance the group’s overall function.
In a modern workplace where employees are distributed across various working models—onsite, hybrid, and remote—a Gatekeeper can serve as a critical bridge to ensure cohesiveness and productivity. By leveraging technology, fostering inclusivity, establishing consistent communication channels and developing other important skill sets, the Gatekeeper can facilitate an environment where all feel connected and engaged, irrespective of their physical work location.
Level up your skills for supporting a remote workforce by getting certified through WorkForceRemote.org’s certification tracks with the Remote Professional Certification and our Remote Coach Certification.