What do your trainees call you? Do you think/know that they call you something else when you are not in the room?
I thought long and hard about this question as a noob starting out. It sets the tone and atmosphere for the lab. After much deliberation, I decided that I was comfortable enough to go by my first name, even though I'm only a few years older than them. At the undergrad level, it's all business, but at the graduate level, I depend as much on my trainees as they do on me for succeeding in academia. All of the professors that I looked up to in grad school and post grad did that. Of course what happens...my first two trainees decided that they would rather call me Dr. X. Fine. A bit awkward when we occasionally go out for drinks after work, but I wasn't going to push them. This week, finally, one of my people started switching to a first name.
Background. No one else in our department goes by their first name with their students. I'm wondering what this will do to the culture of the department. Of course being a researcher, I'm terribly interested in studying this system and a bit worried that I might have permanently changed our fragile ecosystem. Should I care?