Jim Jones was an aspiring leader that promised his followers they could live together in serenity in spite of their differences like race or sex. He promised them a perfect life and his goal was to create that life through Jonestown. His outcome, however, was the mass suicide of over 900 people, including children. In this paper, I will explain how Jim Jones qualifies as a charismatic leader, his aspirations, how he promised his followers deliverance of his goal, and the effect of his preaching.
Before I can explain how Jim Jones qualifies as a charismatic leader, I must first discuss what charismatic leadership is. Max Weber defines charismatic leadership as “gifted, inspired, from a leader who pursues a vision which attracts followers to identify with him, to emulate him” (2004). One who arouses people to act on a vision or belief is a charismatic leader. There are three main elements to being a charismatic leader. The first element is crisis situations. According to Amy Toburin, “Charismatic leadership usually emerges in a crisis situation, because in a crisis people are more likely to look toward a person who appears capable of bringing them through” (2004). One prime example of a charismatic leader that emerged from a crisis situation is former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani. A professor of psychology, by the name of Friedman, describes personal charisma as “a certain appeal, allure, or presence. When charismatic people enter a room, they draw attention and may enliven the whole gathering” (2004).
Body language and non-verbal communication may radiate self-confidence in many of these individuals. This leads us into the second element of charismatic leadership, appearance. Appearance is an important element of charisma to many followers. A well dressed and good-looking candidate will receive more votes than a candidate that appears sloppy or is not pleasing to the eye. Be honest, if you had to choose between a
Cited: The People’s Temple, Led by James Warren (Jim) Jones. (1996-2006). Retrieved November 10, 2006 from the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance November 19, 2006 from Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple Web site: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~remoore/jonestown/ Jones, J. (1978). Jonestown ‘death tape’. Retrieved November, 25 2006 from You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_0ZhrZhDr0&mode=related&search= Lewis, M. (2003). Jones disciple recovers from, recalls painful past. Seattle Post-