I have had several occasions in my business where I have waited too long to let go of an employee that I really needed to let go of. One time, we had a construction manager who was actually taking kick backs, and while we didn't know that at the time, we did know that he was effectively accomplishing nothing. Yet even after coming to this realization, it took us another four months or so to finally pull the trigger.
We also had a property manager who was emotionally exhausting and insubordinate. She would start projects without permission, do them in ways we told her not to, hire her son-in-law to do jobs at inflated values, rent to people with a subpar background check, etc. She would also be border line abusive to various other employees. And despite numerous meetings with her about these problems, we kept hanging on for many more months than we should have.
One of the problems is that both of these people held key positions. There are other cases like these that we have lived through that were easier to move on from, but we still often waited too long. But when it's a key position, it feels daunting to move on from them even if they aren't any good at their job. Who will fill the void?
But you almost always wait too long. I've never heard an employer say they fired someone they wish they hadn't. It's always that they "waited too long."
This concept applies throughout your life. Recently, I ended things with my long time girlfriend. It was tough because I didn't want to stop seeing her, I very much care about her and think she's a great person. But at the same time, the conclusion had finally dawned on me that it wasn't what I wanted long term. And we had been together too long for it to simply be casual.
Unfortunately, despite figuring this out, it took me a few months to finally tell her. It's tough to do such things especially when you don't really want your relationship to end. But the combination of me not wanting to hold back while we were together and me hesitating to tell her after I knew, caused it to drag out and ended up hurting her worse than was necessary. The thought of hurting her in the first place was awful to me, and while I wasn't exactly sure where she was at (I thought that maybe she had come to the same conclusion as me), it was easier to delay inflicting that hurt on someone I cared about, which made it even more tempting to delay. But in the end, that's the coward's route.
Sometimes, you don't know what you think or feel. But often times, that clarifies. Maybe you don't want it to be true, but when you know, you know. It's best to act on it quickly even if it's hard to do. In the end, such delays only hurt yourself and others, often those you care a lot about.
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
Star Slate Codex
Consulting by RPM