I've recently had a leg injury. Because of that, I've had the opportunity to watch people at milongas. In the process, I once again see behavior that really rubs me wrong.
Here's the scenario:
A leader asks a [seemingly] beginner lady to dance a tanda. He then starts to lay on the fancy steps. The dance falls apart. Not because she doesn't know what to do, but rather, he leads it badly! Apparently, leader is a newbie, trying to compensate for some inadequacy. Anyway, he then tries to teach her the move that he's trying to do, in the middle of the dance floor, holding up traffic...
This makes for a very looong tanda. Not to mention, it is VERY, VERY, VERY rude to teach in a milonga. You just don't do that! A well meaning criticism can be very devastating and humiliating to a follow.
Seeing the follow, I dance with her. I keep it simple. SHE CAN DANCE! Not technically astute, but she is able to achieve that "Tango connection," which is the whole point of AT. After the tanda, she tells me "Thank you, I feel so much better with you than with that other guy."
My curiosity is piqued and I ask her, "Why?"
I embark on a small research project...
(This scenario is repeated in several milongas. There's always at least one lead who does this sort of thing)
The consistent answer is that, to the majority of ladies, it is the "Tango Connection" that makes the dance worthwhile.
Only the advanced dancers are the ones who can do (sometimes enjoy) the fancy stuff. For it to be enjoyable, you have to lead it well.
So, my conclusion is this:
Dance to the level of the follower. Don't try to push fancy steps if you can't lead it well, and if she's not comfortable with it. Keep it simple and concentrate on the connection.
Move her with your soul. Not your feet.