Perceptions of principals of color and European American principals of their African American superintendents' leadership



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The superintendent is faced with the challenge of managing their image, building relationships, and utilizing their resources in such a way that they will be perceived as effective, creditable and trustworthy by their principals. Research by Chemers and Murphy (1997) found that perceptions of the leader by followers are the very foundation on which the leaders ability to influence are built. This study sought to: (1) examine the perceptions that a diverse group of principals have of their African American superintendents’ leadership; (2) identify any differences that exist between the perceptions of principals of color and European American principals about their African American superintendents; and (3) examine how African American superintendents perceive their leadership in a diverse environment. Qualitative methods were used to examine the perceptions of the principals and the superintendents. Ethnic diversity was the variable used to describe principals of color and European American principals’ perceptions of their African American superintendents leadership. Results of the study revealed that principals of color perceived their superintendents differently than their European American counterparts, and European American females had higher levels of trust for their African American superintendents that the European American males.