Making the leader identity salient can be demotivating.

Extensive research has shown that when a social identity is made salient, people tend to embrace positive identities (e.g., being a voter) and shy away from negative identities (e.g., being a cheater). The present research proposes that this effect of identity salience could be reversed for identities that cannot be attained or rejected by engaging in simple behaviors (e.g., being a leader). People perceived leadership education programs that highlighted the leader identity as more difficult (Studies 1 and 3), and were less interested in signing up for such programs (Study 2). People performed worse when learning educational material framed in terms of the leader identity (Study 4). However, a growth mindset about leadership ability reduced the negative effects of identity frames on performance (Study 4). These findings highlight that the motivational effects of making identities salient might not hold for identities that cannot be attained by executing simple behaviors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)