By Karen Axelton

What’s one of the best skills you can develop as a leader of your business? Self-control. For instance, consider President Obama, who’s notable for his calm, collected demeanor at all times.

As an entrepreneur, self-control is important because losing your cool stresses out your staff, makes you look less professional and makes others think you’re less reliable and trustworthy.

In this interesting article from, Douglas McKenna takes a look at self-control and how you can develop yours. First, McKenna points out, self-control generally starts out strong and declines as the day goes on. (Just ask any dieter who’s ever started the day with a virtuous bowl of bran and ended it by eating ice cream straight from the carton.) So if you’ve got a task you know will call on all your powers of self-control, try to schedule it for earlier in the day when you won’t be worn down.

Taking regular breaks to rejuvenate yourself with exercise, meditation or just a 5-minute break from work helps replenish your self-control, as does eating healthily and regularly, McKenna says.

Finally, practice self-control actively. “Any time you take conscious control of your thoughts, feelings or actions, you are practicing self-control,” McKenna says. That can mean counting to 10 before you answer someone or doing a quick deep-breathing exercise when you feel yourself getting annoyed.

Simply being aware of self-control as a “muscle” you need to exercise can change your perspective and make it easier to stay in command, McKenna says. Whether you’re dealing with a client, partner, employee or a friend or family member in your personal life, self-control can only help improve your relationships. Try McKenna’s tips and put it into practice, and you’re likely to see good results.