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New teachers enter schools with already established beliefs about principals.This paper reports on the nature and primary influences on what a group of Hong Kong pre-service teacher participants believe about principals. The nature of beliefs reflect underlying personal constructs that relate to interpersonal communication and management. Influences include past school principals, school leaders and parents. Beliefs were attained using a modified personal construct interview and analyses of participant stories. Findings highlight a close association between the leadership/management style of the principal whom participants would like to be and mothers, and the interpersonal behaviour of fathers and the principal whom participants would not like to be. The authors argue that reforms are needed in the course design of teacher education, teacher induction and programmes of professional development for principals. These reforms must address the influence personal history has on an individual's thinking about teaching, interpersonal communication and leadership - a reform process that begins with teacher educators and principals reframing their beliefs and associated practices.