First off, every band needs a clear identity. In football, the coaches and players know whether they are a power running and defensive team, or a high-powered offensive team. This is your overall plan for who you are as a band (or as a solo artist). You need to know who you are, what you are good at, and what you have to offer so that people can clearly and easily identify what it is you’re doing, and hopefully want to buy it! Knowing who you are not is equally important, which brings us to our next lesson:
Put your players in a position to succeed. Some musicians are role players, who are competent at what they do, but aren’t going to be superstars. These guys/girls are your line. They are there to offer support and protection to your star players. Often these are your rhythm guitarists, bassists, or drummers. If you don’t have a solid foundation, you don’t have much, and your quarterback is going to be sacked. Of course, the lead singer is the QB, being the focal point of the offense and often calling (songs) plays before the (count off) snap. They also, for better or worse, get most of the glory, and the blame.
Your melody instruments and soloists are your wide recievers and running backs. The singer will hand off to them for lead breaks and to carry the melody between verses and choruses. These folks need to be your star players… One mistake I see a lot of bands make is putting players at the wrong position. It is up to the coaches (band leader, managers) to figure this part out, and let people do what they do best. While all the band members should be competent musicians who could play whatever role you ask of them, just like all the players are athletes, if you have a guy blocking who should be running the ball, you have problems!
Write and play to your strengths. In every group, the individual members will be better suited to different things. Write material for the players you have. Don’t ask three chord strummers to play Led Zeppelin riffs, and don’t expect your technical metal drummer to be able to properly swing an old school motown or funk beat. Good songwriters and band leaders do this naturally, and this would be a great thing for budding band leaders to look at, and an easy way to improve. Don’t force people to do what they’re not good at. By all means, recruit the right people for your project if you can, and then make half-time adjustments to win with who you’ve got.