In the academic field, those who serve in positions such as Department Chair or Department Head are often folks who--just like other professors--are interested in doing research and teaching. However, they also agree to serve their department and the field by being chair. They get a boost in pay. . .but in my opinion that doesn't compensate them nearly enough for the administrative junk they must deal with.
Anyway, my point is that, unlike the corporate world where one's BOSS usually has power over hiring & firing you. . .a department chair is really a peer who has agreed to serve.
Now, a chair certainly is important to the assistant professor because s/he can shelter them from other demands of the university life and give them time to focus on their research and teaching.
On Friday, I called the first Department Chair I ever worked for to wish him a happy birthday. His name's Loy Singleton and he was a VERY good chair. Not only did he shelter me from tons of administrivia during the 5 years I was at Alabama--allowing me to do my research--but he was generally interested in what I was doing. Even though it was far afield from his own interestes in new technology introduction.
I owe a lot to Loy, and really enjoyed catching up with him.
Like in any industry, I suppose, one of the joys of being in it for a long time is developing friendships with others who share your general interests.
Well, gotta get to work...