That should be rule one of being a chair, perhaps. Or a corrolary. Or something.
If someone has something really good to pass along, they give you the basics in an email, even if they want to discuss the next step with you in a meeting.
No colleague says, "I want to have a meeting" and then tells you "I just got this cool publication and I'm super happy." Nope. They share the good news and accept everyone's happy congratulations.
No one says, "I want to have a meeting" and then tells you about their wonderful new puppy. Nope. They share pictures of the puppy and accept everyone's admiring congratulations.
Yesterday afternoon, I got an email from a colleague asking to meet with me. I figured, it's one of two things, given the colleague, and neither is great, but neither is beyond horrible either. And I was right, it was one of the two things, and it means I get to juggle more extra work. But happily it's not absolutely horrid, either.
I have a colleague who seems to be consistently late when asked to turn in anything mildly administrative. For example, we ask for copies of syllabi each semester to keep on file. In a worst case scenario, if someone is killed driving in to work, someone else at least has that as a starting point to finish teaching the course. In a more usual scenario, in five years when a student is trying to transfer a course for some reason, or get it to mean something for a graduate application, they can contact the office and our staff can easily find it in the files and send it off even if the colleague has retired. (I've gotten at least three requests for such things this year).
But the colleague who's consistently late with such things. I'm not sure why. They're late with another important thing now.
So I sent an email asking how I could help with the problem, asking if they're okay, and such. I hope that was a useful approach. It seems better than getting frustrated with the person.
(The problem with the chronic lateness is that it adds extra work to the load of our office staff, who have to keep asking for the work. Our office staff are plenty busy and do a good job, and we shouldn't burden them just because we don't care.)
I have another campus leader thing tomorrow for three hours, this one on preparing future leaders. This is GREAT in theory, but in practice seems really hard.
So I ask: what should I be doing as chair to help prepare the next and future chairs?
I've recommended some committee roles to folks who were interested. If you want to become chair, you should have a pretty good sense of your department's curriculum and how it fits for majors, for GE and such, and for other department majors. You should also get to know the folks at the college and university level who work on curricular stuff. So that's good.
Serving as a university senator is good.
(In some ways, I took on a lot of the preparatory roles without thinking of them in that way, and just happened to be reasonably well prepared for most things.
But how do you help someone prepare for budget stuff?