A core function of leadership is to motivate followers, yet little research describes mechanisms by which leaders impact their followers' motivation. The purpose of this paper is to present and test a novel theory of leaders' influence on follower creative performance based on approach-avoidance motivation theory (Carver & Scheier, 1998) and self-regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 2000). Two forms of leader approach-avoidance communication behavior, verbal framing and nonverbal emotional displays, are hypothesized to impact follower creative performance. Two experimental studies provide support for the theoretical model using distinct leadership stimuli and creative performance tasks.
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