The Dance Chicken and the Egg!
I suppose that you all have heard the expression; "What comes first, the chicken or the egg?"
This of course creates the case of a circular cause and consequence. In partner dancing you will often hear the follower blame the leader or the leader blaming the follower; this is also a circular cause and consequence.
In order to form a near perfect partnership in dance, one must be willing to put forth the effort and dedication to acquire the necessary skills to competently perform their role. This is not easy, especially in the case that both the leader and follower are beginning dancers. When in a group setting, rotation can be your friend. Often the level of dancers in the class varies greatly. A new leader or follower will find that their role is much easier with a more experienced dancer.
The danger in this is that either person can give the other person a false sense of accomplishment. The beauty of this is that the more experienced person can help the less experienced person "feel" how the move is supposed to be executed. This of course is always dependent upon whether or not the more experienced dancer is executing the move properly or not.
That being said, we must all do our own part. Follower's go where your leader takes you, not where you know that you are supposed to go. Your goal is to learn to "follow". Do not compensate or back lead your partner. Doing so will never help him to improve and perfect his skills.
Leader's, do not compensate for your follower's. If they are not following you, do not force them to do so. They need to learn and improve their own technique and skills. On the other hand, you must "lead" them. A follower needs to be led at a precise time. You need to be clear in your lead, only move your arms and hands when you are attempting to lead your follower. Excess movement creates noise on the line and only confuses a follower. You will know when you are achieving this goal when you are able to lead a competent dancer, that you have never dancer with before through an entire dance with more success than failure.
Dancing is a wonderful sport that should bring you joy. It is not easy at first, but is so worth the time and effort to learn to become a competent dancer. If you are a beginner, be gentle with yourself. Learning to dance does not happen overnight. Chances are that the dancers that you see and admire have been dancing for a long time, have put in hours of practice and have taken many private lessons. Just like any sport, the more coaching, time practicing and actual dancing that you do will be directly reflected in your progress.
So just remember, chances are that you might be the chicken, or the egg!