On November 18, 1978, Jim Jones’ followers, People’s Temple living in Jonestown, Guyana took part in the largest mass murder/suicide in history. Jim Jones was able to convince more than 900 people to ingest a cyanide-laced Kool-Aid, ultimately killing them. This paper explores Jim Jones’ leadership style and how it lead to the largest mass murder/suicide in history.
Question 1. What role(s) did Jim Jones play in the lives of his followers?
The role that Jim Jones played in the lives of his followers, which were largely disenfranchised, was one of complete acceptance, understanding, being a role model and caregiver. Jones created an atmosphere where all his followers belonged and had a place. His followers felt they had a purpose and they were special and that’s how he brought so many college age people, older black women, and so many other people from such diverse backgrounds. Jim Jones was able to gain their trust and make them feel like he was ready to help them. This was a basis for the trust which these people began to instill in Jones, as he had finally made so many of them happy, even to the extent of filling something inside of them. Many of Jones’ followers came from broken homes and off the streets. Many of them suffered from drug use and abuse, alcoholism, prostitution, and other criminal activities (Brooks, Tim 2013).
Question 2. What are the positive aspects of Jones’s leadership? What are the negative aspects?
One of the positive aspects of Jim Jones’ leadership was his charisma. Jones’ exhibited a wide range of methods to create his image for his followers. He played to his follower’s weaknesses and their emotions. He was able to convince many of them that he was able to heal them through his sermons. In Tina Parrish’s paper, ‘Leadership Styles” Martin Luther King vs. Jim Jones, she spells it out perfectly. Parrish wrote, “The Values of the Charismatic leader are highly...