I work as a system administrator in North America. My team is relatively small, and of our team members, I am the most tenured.
The environment we work in is very complex, and there is no formal training for new recruits. Due to this, team members are expected to directly mentor new employees. We are in a flat org structure: I am not in a supervisory role, nor are there any line managers present for training.
One thing I struggle with is, being seen as the new employee's ersatz supervisor, when I am not.
I do not feel comfortable giving newer employees specific orders related to their tasks ("You need to do this X way, because of...", "Y needs to be done by Z date", "You need to look at this ticket now, because the client is upset with us"). As such, I make a conscious effort to be gentle in my statements, and purposely avoid asserting my (non-existent) authority.
While this works well enough for technical questions, or minor items, it is completely ineffective at communicating the critical of actual, business critical items (e.g, a high priority ticket, an outage situation that needs to be addressed immediately). The new employee (understandably so) wants me to say do it now, while I'm uncomfortable going beyond, you might want to look at this. Doing the work myself is an option, but defeats the purpose of training someone.
Edit: Deadlines are given by senior management, I would just be regurgitating them. Priorities are given in a general sense (outages trump normal day-to-day tasks). Actual task assignment and outage resolution is self-governed. We decide what we work on, and when, but are expected to understand how to make that decision properly.
In a team with a flat org-structure with no available management, how can one balance a false projection of authority, with the need to be an effective mentor, and provide clear guidance on the realities of the job?