Two goals from substitute Jimmy Keohane settled the contest but it was not until the Irishman's opener after 79 minutes that the Grecians had a shot on target against a stubborn and resilient Accrington backline.
"It's a home win and that is what it was all about," Tisdale said. "Patience comes in many forms, it's keeping your nerve as time ticks on and it is also keeping your nerve when you are in possession of the ball and when the opposition have the ball.
"We didn't get it all right, but the main thing was that we were patient. The players discussed it at half-time and I said to them to stay in the game, don't give it away, don't stretch yourselves and wait for the opportunity."
Defeat leaves struggling Accrington in 21st place in League Two, with just one win to show from their last 16 matches.
Disappointed Stanley boss Leam Richardson said: "It wasn't a pleasant spectacle for the neutral. The two sides set up in identical fashion and we were comfortable.
"The two goals we conceded were very poor from our point of view and that is the message to the lads. They were certainly not good enough and we can do more as a group.
"We worked quite a lot this week on being solid. We were quite aware that Exeter struggle to break teams down at home and for the main part we held them to that and we had a couple of half-chances ourselves.
"Then we go 1-0 down with some sloppy defending, we go up the other end hit the bar and then find ourselves 2-0 down scratching our heads a little bit.
"We were reasonably happy at half-time, our keeper hasn't really had a save to make nor has theirs. If we didn't make the mistakes we get a result, but we caused our own downfall. We need to win games, we need to get points on the board and we think we are good enough."
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- Jimmy Keohane