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He was a leader who wanted the best for his men and understood the strength and weakness of his soldiers. He was a proud egoistic leader who followed his military discipline and code despite of the torturous conditions he and his men were put through.
Although from completely different cultures both Nicholson and Saito shared many personal attributes that formed their style of leadership and command. Both men were completely devoted to an idealized view of their cultures. Nicholson bound by duty to God, King and Country; Saito to the inflexible code of Bushito, the code of the samurai. Their views were idealized since both codes did not permit growth to deal with specific changes present in the 20th century. In a very real sense both men were hanging on to a code from years past.

Neither man recognized the men they lead as individual human beings. To these leaders they where troops, pawns in a larger chess game. Both Nicholson and Saito where bound by a caste system. A system of social structure that clearly defined each person's past and possibilities for their future.
This is a wonderful case study of goal obsession. I believe that goal obsession is one of the greatest challenges faced by smart, successful leaders. For example, we may become so focused on "proving we are right" that we forget to "listen and learn." We may become so focused on making money that we ruin our family life, get divorced and lose half of everything that we made.
At the end of the movie, the Commander's last words were, "What have I done?" If leaders are not careful, they can become so obsessed with achieving their goals that they think, "What have I done?" on their death bed.
In my opinion, this is the most important leadership lesson to be learned from this film: Make certain you fully understand what is most important, what must be done, and how best to do it.
• Nicholson is…...

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