In this paper we examine the role of out-group signals and in-group leader tactics in the choice and evaluation of rival in-group leader candidates. Study 1 found preference for a negotiating in-group leader over an oppositional leader, mediated by perceived leader effectiveness and prototypicality. In Study 2 participants chose a leader who had received out-group endorsement and in Studies 3 and 4, participants chose a negotiating in-group leader where the out-group was prepared to negotiate and an oppositional leader where the out-group was not prepared to negotiate. In the latter three studies, there was evidence for participants being strategic in their choices: effects were mediated by effectiveness but not prototypicality. These findings suggest our understanding of collective action will be enriched through attention to the situational cues provided by out-groups, and to the context of competing voices of collective action leadership.