Being an influential pedagogical leader: Headteachers’ view on necessary competences Rahaela Varga, Dijana Vican and Anđelka Peko
Summary: This research paper focuses on determining the competences that are considered necessary for a successful career as a headteacher in Croatian schools and identifying which of these competences can be developed through education. Pedagogical leadership encompasses administrative, managerial and, most of all, a pedagogical set of competences. Headteachers who practice pedagogical leadership emphasise the creation of a school environment that supports students’ learning in a more effective manner. In this study, a total of 720 headteachers participated in focus group discussions and an online survey; their responses were analysed to obtain a list of top headteacher competences. Special attention was given to those competences that can be developed through education. The focus groups emphasised headteachers’ expectations from initial preparation for the leading role. The findings suggest that the most important competences necessary for leading a school, assessed by headteachers, correspond to the pedagogical quality of leadership (as opposed to administrative or managerial competences): building mutual trust among staff members, creating a safe and supporting environment, engaging in professional self-development, solving problems efficiently, etc. According to the headteachers, a similar set of competences can be developed through initial education and must, therefore, be implemented in an educational program that would enable headteachers to develop exactly those competences that they feel would help them to do their job more effectively.