There is inconsistency in positioning general motivation constructs within the broader leadership research. The main purpose of the current study was to review major social constructs of motivation applied in leadership studies and then empirically investigate their associations. Data was collected using self-reported measures from 316 business students to test our theoretical models. Properties of the models, including validity and common method bias, were assessed and controlled before hypothesis testing using variance-based structural equation modeling. This study offers several original contributions. First, reviewing the literature, we identify major social constructs of motivation central to leadership studies including self-efficacy, self-regulation, causal attributions, goal orientation, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Second, applying the regulatory focus perspective, we offer a new taxonomy of the constructs (promotional vs. preventive). Third, using empirical data, we establish a nomological network amongst the six social constructs of motivation. The study yielded an integrative theory of motivation by establishing a network of cause-and-effect amongst six popular social constructs of motivation in leadership research. Two complementary (promotional vs. preventive) models of motivation were developed to predict dimensions of creative outcome (idea generation and exploration). Forth, building on the findings, we provide early evidence for further decomposition of general self-efficacy constructs into “promotional self-efficacy” vs. “preventive self-efficacy”. Implications of the findings for leadership research were also discussed.