Tribe Leaders is a minor twist that originated in Survivor: Samoa and has since reappeared in Cagayan, Worlds Apart, and Ghost Island. The twist sees each tribe vote someone to be its leader and make decisions for the tribe.
In Samoa, at the beginning of the game, both tribes voted for a tribe "chief". This chief (symbolized by a leadership necklace, not to be confused with the Immunity Necklace) would make decisions in challenges such as assigning tasks for tribemates, sit-outs, etc. After a Reward Challenge, the winning tribe's chief would also assign one of his tribemates to be an "observer". If a chief is eliminated, the tribe must select a replacement. Galu chose Russell Swan in a 5-3-2 decision, while Foa Foa chose Mick Trimming in a 4-3-1-1-1 vote. After Russell S. was evacuated, Shambo Waters was elected the new chief of Galu.
In Cagayan, the tribes voted for a leader who would choose who they think the weakest member of the tribe is. The person selected by the leader will be flown directly to camp and choose between a clue for the Hidden Immunity Idol or an extra bag of rice for the tribe. Solana selected LJ McKanas as the leader, while Aparri chose Sarah Lacina, and Luzon picked David Samson. The leaders then chose to dismiss Morgan McLeod, Trish Hegarty, and Garrett Adelstein respectively.
In Worlds Apart, two people from each tribe were chosen at the beginning of the game. The "tribe leaders" would be flown to camp ahead of time and given the choice between "honesty", a big bag of beans for the tribe, and "deceit", a small bag of beans for the tribe and a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol for themselves. Escameca selected Dan Foley, who then chose Mike Holloway to lead with him. Masaya chose Joaquin Souberbielle, who then selected So Kim. Nagarote picked Will Sims II who then chose Jenn Brown. The tribe leaders from Escameca and Nagarote chose "honesty", while the tribe leaders from Masaya chose "deceit".
In Ghost Island, shortly after entering the game, both tribes selected a leader, who in turn chose two people, one runner and one puzzle solver, for an immediate Reward Challenge. Malolo chose Brendan Shapiro, while Chris Noble volunteered for Naviti. In addition, if the tribe leader decided they wanted to forfeit the challenge during the puzzle-solving portion, their tribe would get to keep their fishing kit, but the opposing tribe would get 20 eggs and flint in addition to the shelter building kit. Chris decided to forfeit for Naviti, giving Malolo the full reward.
Unlike in Samoa, the twist was used rather loosely in Cagayan, Worlds Apart, and Ghost Island, as the tribe leaders were only seen doing their duties on Day 1.
- Neither original tribe leader in Samoa had their torch snuffed. Russell Swan was evacuated, while Mick Trimming made the Final Tribal Council.
- Worlds Apart is the only season where multiple leaders were picked for each tribe at the same time.