Part three of this lesson will deal with how to establish credibility, legitimacy and informal authority.
As an Advisor, when you arrive, you will have little leverage in terms of making your assistance desirable by your local counterparts. Your ability to impact change will rest on the working relationship that you are able to establish with local officials. In order to transfer knowledge effectively, your advice and knowledge need to be considered interesting, appropriate, timely, and desirable by local actors. Advisors have to be credible, establish themselves as agents in a legitimate capacity and demonstrate that they are an authority on the issue at hand.
Establishing credibility is one of the first tasks that you will need to focus on as an Advisor. You will also have to work on maintaining or increasing this credibility throughout your mandate. It is important therefore to ensure that your advice is accurate and meets the requirements expected of it. At times you may face resistance from your counterpart who may not see the need for your advice or who may see your presence as a threat. In order to avoid such situations and to create credibility, you will need to present yourself as a resource and become a valuable source of experience, expertise and knowledge.
Along with establishing credibility, you will also need to establish your legitimacy. You will need to demonstrate the value of your presence and that you are the right person for the job. Credibility and legitimacy go hand in hand and mutually reinforce each other.
Once you have established your credibility and legitimacy, you will be able to enjoy a type of informal authority, which may extend indirectly into a certain authority of power at a strategic level. Once established, this informal authority can help you to develop a more operational and effective relationship with your counterpart.