A considerable number of small and medium sized businesses in South Africa do not make it past the growth phase of the business life cycle due to failure to adequately address the requirements of this demanding phase. Certain inappropriate leadership behaviours have been known to lead to business failure when not properly addressed. The purpose of this study was to determine the salient attributes required for effective leadership in the growth phase of small and medium-sized businesses. A qualitative research approach was carried out and data was sourced using indepth interviews conducted with ten small and medium sized business owners. The results confirm that in the growth phase of a small and medium-sized business there are several developmental characteristics that require specific leadership intervention. The results also reveal that there is a dominant leadership style and specific follower attributes that are desirable at the growth phase of SMEs which lead to effective leadership.