When many people are accountable for something, nobody is accountable for it. When we all say “somebody else will deal with it,” often the result is that nobody deals with it.
This is an actual, scientifically-observed psychological phenomenon. It’s called the Bystander Effect. Also observed: The larger the group of bystanders, the less likely anyone is to intervene.
We need to fight this. And the way to start is by going first, by taking on responsibility and accountability. By not being bystanders but being participants, helpers, doers.
If you’re walking by and you see the coffee pot is empty, make a fresh pot.
If the team needs a volunteer and nobody’s speaking up, speak up, volunteer.
If you see someone struggling with their code, offer to pair or to be a rubber duck.