Although organizational leadership is widely studied, research on antecedents of leadership, including motivation to lead, has largely escaped empirical attention. This research includes two studies that aim to address this empirical gap, by examining relationship quality as an antecedent to motivation to lead. Study 1 focuses on parent-child relationship quality, while Study 2 focuses on romantic relationship quality. Results indicate that parent-child relationship quality is associated with both social-normative and non-calculative motivation to lead. Moreover, parental identification moderated the association between parent-child relationship quality and non-calculative motivation to lead, while parent leadership role occupancy moderated the association between parent-child relationship quality and affective-identity motivation to lead. Results also suggest that self-esteem and leader self-efficacy mediate the relationship between romantic relationship quality and the three sub-types of motivation to lead. Understanding antecedents to motivation to lead is important, as it predicts leadership outcomes and has implications for individual and employee development.