Political office holders generally are surrounded by men and women who play key roles in determining their decisions on a host of issues, political strategy and personal habits.

Marion S. Barry takes advice from a wide circle of people, but the following seven have been identified by him and close associates as being major influences on his thinking in a variety of ways:

Ivanhoe Donaldson, 36, a former executive assistant to Barry on the City Council and campaign manager in three of Barry's campaigns, including this one, functions as the 42-year-old Barry's alter ego. A self-described "political hack," Donaldson has known Barry for 18 years when both men started out with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the South during the 1960s civil rights movement.

Donaldson, who lies to remain out of sight in "the woodwork" around Barry, is known as one of the few people who can rein in his occassionally impulsive candidate in "a toe-to-toe argument." He has been Barrys principal political adviser since 1974.

James O. Gibson, an urban planner with the potomac Institute and president of the minority-owned Harambee House hotel, advises Barry on housing and economic development and middle-class values. They have been close since the late 1960s.

"I'm a diamond in the rough," explains Barry, "and Jim works at grooming me." Gibson said Barry is seen as too aggressive by some middle-class blacks in Washington and he tries to keep Barry's legislative and political actions within their perceptions of good, conventional behavior.

Herbert O. Reid, 62, the "Charles Hamilton Houston distinguished professor of law" at Howard University Law School and a constitutional law instructor, hase a quiet, confidant relationship with Barry.

Reid has known Barry since the civil rights demonstrations in Selma and Birmingham, Ala., and the two became close after Barry came to Washington in 1965. "Marion was one of the few young (civil rights activists) who had some tolerance for the advice or those over 40 (years old)," said Reid.

Joseph Carter, a vice president, of Garfinckel's leader of the largest civic association in Washington - North West Boundary Civic Association - tnd active in Baptist church circles, provides Barry entree into many of the city's cliquish communities.

Carter's first met Barry in 1972 when the latter was president of the board of education. Carter, who has worked in three campaigns for Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.), said he liked Barry "because he was very aggressive and would work to get things done."

"I consider Joe a steal from Fauntroy," said Barry. Carter is chairman of barry's strategy committee and was one of the first people to tell Barry to change his style of dress from African dashikis to three-piece suits.

M. Carl Holman, president of the National Urban Coalition, advises Barry on a number of urban problems and, in particular, possible programs to stop the housing displacement of the elderly and urban poor.

Holman first met Barry as a SNCC activist in the South. He has been helping Barry put together "a strategy that would keep Washington's middle-class base - they'll take care of themselves - (from leaving the city) but include the poor," Holman said.

Delano E. Lewis, a vice president at C & P Telephone Company and Fauntroy's first congressional administrative assistant, plays a key role by second-guessing how Fauntroy will react to a Barry stratagem.

"I think I know Walter very well." problems in a missionary way and said Lewis. "Walter approaches once convinced about something, will attack it in a missionary way. You can't turn him from his course."

Audrey Rowe (formerly Colom), past Republican chairman of the National Women's political Caucus and director of affirmative action for women at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, advises Barry on women's rights, child care center programs, welfare reform and speech.

While Barry was president of the school board in 1972 he helped Rowe, who then was an assitant to the late George Wiley of the National Welfare Rights Organization, gain access to the city's school students to organize the Children's March. The march was held to protest the Nixon administration's welfare reform package.

Afterward, Rowe worked in Barry's first council race and advised Barry on child care center issues. This spring she held a meeting for Barry with 35 women activists, some of whom are now working in his mayoral campaign.