I've come to realize that there's more to the lead/follow dynamic between nage and uke. Since I don't attempt to overtly control uke's movement I'm required to both lead him and follow him simultaneously. The term I use for this is congruent motion. A definition of congruent is "the quality or state of agreeing, coinciding" (Merriman-Webster). Congruent motion then can be seen as motion where our points of intersection form tangents rather than crossing points.
The simultaneous lead/follow is the desired state, as you say. We use the practice of sensitive following to help achieve it. There is always more going on than it initially seems, when discussing a particular point about training.
I know that in some other aikido practice, the grip is quite 'hard', for me this reduces the amount of flexibility in ukes movement and therefore their ability to follow effectively. 'Soft' following helps newer students get the shape of the waza, withought having to battle with overt resistance. There is of course a danger that this type of 'collusion' could be seen as being somehow martially effective, which of course it isn't. There has to be so much more in place for that to be the case. What it does do in my own experience, is give uke an advantage, in that, I can follow on balance, with no tension, and take nage's balance the moment they step outside of the principles.
I look forward to having some good practice with you, when I get over your way.