Seasoned practitioners have a professional reputation, for which they are sought after to perform specific functions or tasks. In these circumstances, your reputation will enable you to get the job done, to get others on board, or to tap into your network if needed.
As an advisor, on the other hand, you may come in with little or no reputation. This implies that you will have to put in a significant amount of effort, especially at the beginning, to build your reputation. However, the absence of reputation could also imply that you do not have a negative reputation. Your counterpart's maybe keen to meet you and start working together. You should make use of this situation to build peer-to-peer relationships and to foster a partnership of trust and confidence. This can help build a positive image of you and your mission.
Sometimes, however, you may come in with a bad reputation, either because of your deploying country or institution, your predecessor’s legacy, or other reasons beyond your control. In these situations, you should carefully analyse the reason behind such a reputation, and try to address it as objectively as possible.
At times, the reasons for a bad reputation could be due to lack of communication or misinformation. You will need to identify concrete steps to address these problems. In other instances, the reasons may be too complex, difficult or even impossible to address. In such situations, you could make use of your various other identities and put them forward as and when needed. If, for example, you have a bad reputation because of your deploying country or institution, you could play down this aspect, and instead emphasise your professional background and/or experience. You could, for example, highlight the fact that you are from the army or the police, or that you were once deployed in the same country as your counterpart etc.
Whatever the circumstances, you need to bear in mind that building a positive reputation takes time, patience and a lot of effort. Losing your positive reputation, on the other hand, could happen instantly. You therefore need to be cautious about what you say and do, and make a constant effort to establish and maintain a solid professional relationship with your counterpart.