An advisor is required to answer to several authorities, all of which have different interests, positions, missions, caveats and modus operandi. This means that the advisor will have several ‘bosses’, each with a different perception on the advising mission.
There are three categories of persons who could influence the work of the advisor.
First, advisors will have local partners and/or counterparts who will be the focus of the capacity task that has been entrusted to them and towards whom they will have certain obligations.
Second, the advisor is likely to be a part of a larger mission within a country team (an embassy or other diplomatic mission, for example) or could be a part of a multilateral mission (UN, EU or NATO missions, for example). These missions will require the advisor to function within the guidelines of the mission and adhere to specific rules of engagement and reporting mechanisms.
Third, advisors will be expected to report to their deploying government or institution that provides the advisor with the financial and managerial support required for the mission.
Significant challenges could arise when the goals and interests of these multiple actors differ or at times clash. The advisor will have to recognise this situation and make a case-by-case decision on which task to prioritise at a given time. Having a clear idea about your mandate and mission can help you define your priorities. It is therefore important to ensure that your mandate, roles and tasks are clearly defined in the early stages of your mission and that, if and when necessary, they are reviewed and amended.