Speaking to the Self: How Motivating Language Links With Self-Leadership

Jacqueline Mayfield, Milton Mayfield, Christopher P. Neck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study investigates the relationships between the external influence of leader motivating language (ML), each of the major dimensions of self-leadership (SL)—behavioral strategies, constructive thoughts strategies, and natural rewards strategies—and their respective links with the outcomes of employee job satisfaction, performance, and intent-to-stay, using a partial least squares structural equation model. In addition, we look at the direct relationships between ML and SL with the same outcomes in separate analyses. Based on a large, diverse sample, results suggest that ML in conjunction with SL has strong, positive relationships with employee job satisfaction, performance, and intent-to-stay. Furthermore, a partially mediated model of ML affecting SL shows positive links with all three aspects of SL and the outcome variables of performance, job satisfaction, and intent-to-stay. For the SL dimensions, behavioral strategies were positively and significantly linked with job satisfaction; natural rewards strategies were positively and significantly related to job satisfaction, intent-to-stay, and job performance; and constructive thoughts strategies were significantly and positively associated with job satisfaction and intent-to-stay. These findings validate previous research and uncover new knowledge about ML and SL in organizational context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-54
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Business Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • leadership communication
  • motivating language
  • self-leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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