Global workplaces are a melting pot of cultures, work styles and professional backgrounds. Having a global team is an incredible opportunity to learn more about other individualized experiences and even boost your team’s worldly viewpoints.

However, employees from different cultures may have differing opinions about leadership styles or even contrasting ways of approaching problems, which can cause disagreements in the workplace. To help ease any conflicts, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council explain how you can be mindful and respectful of cultural differences when leading a global team.

1. Allow Time For Varying Holidays And Traditions

I think it’s important to be mindful of different holidays, festivals and traditions that may be celebrated by members of your team from other cultures, and to allow people to take paid time off, if needed, in order to participate in and feel connected to those celebrations. In our business, we provide employees with several PTO days for regional holidays, and they can choose on which dates they would like to take them. In this way, we’re able to ensure that everyone is able to participate in and enjoy their cultural celebrations, while also still being productive at work. This helps foster a sense of inclusion and belonging among our employees. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

2. Listen More Than You Speak

In a professional setting, cultural differences often manifest in varying methods of communication. Being a culturally competent leader means becoming an excellent communicator who’s able to identify not only what’s said by a person, but also what’s left unsaid (the context). In a remote and globally distributed team, this becomes even more important. A good way to be mindful of cultural differences is to make sure there’s more listening than speaking. In recurring one-on-one meetings, take the time to understand the feedback, both the cultural and personal circumstances of the individual surrounding that feedback, what the person is most excited or worried about and more. Make an active effort to listen and learn and leave plenty of space for waiting and listening while the individual is communicating. – Brent Liang, Fractal

3. Ask Questions

Want to better understand your team’s global perspective? Ask questions and listen. Leading with curiosity means that you can better understand their lived experiences and not stereotype or completely omit or rush past how people are living their lives. This goes for all aspects of running a business with a team—from holidays, paid time off, work hours, family life outside of work, hobbies and even business insights themselves. You don’t have to have all the answers for how to approach problems or manage a global team. Your team members will help guide you; you just need to give them the space and time to do so. – Nathalie Lussier, AccessAlly

4. Create An Atmosphere Of Transparency

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Global teams can be incredibly rewarding to manage and incredibly difficult to manage. While everything from the volume of your voice to the choice of your words can send mixed signals to team members from other cultures, you will also be presented with viewpoints, skill sets and knowledge bases you simply would not be able to work with otherwise. The trick for ironing out these hiccups is to create an atmosphere of clear communication and transparency. Make sure team members feel comfortable voicing their concerns or opinions about specific actions. Over time, this back and forth will allow you to better understand and accommodate your employees. – Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group LLC

5. Host Monthly ‘Get To Know You’ Meetings

Have a monthly meeting to get to know everyone’s culture, likes and dislikes. It is beneficial for everyone because it helps you to know how to lead everyone on the team, what makes them happy or disappointed and even what they celebrate in particular. Culture isn’t just about occasions or events or what people do, though; it is more about their practices, behaviors, attitudes or tendencies. This is why a fun monthly meeting about people and their lifestyles is a must. – Daisy Jing, Banish

6. Focus On Universal Values

While leading a global team, I’ve found that the best way to be mindful of cultural differences is by implementing the universal core values of respect and responsibility. It’s important to respect the time of your employees who are in different time zones and may celebrate different holidays. All of my team members work flexible schedules that best fit their time zones. This is paired with the responsibility of meeting expectations and hitting deadlines. Values come from the top, and as a global team leader, it’s important to adopt a universal mindset when it comes to choosing them. Setting clear expectations and respecting the time of your team will allow you to overcome any cultural differences. – Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas

7. Lead With Humility

Every leader stands to learn from the team that they lead. Studies consistently show that diverse and inclusive teams perform better. I think the answer here is to lead with humility so that you won’t know all the answers. Let your team teach you and inspire a new way of thinking. Being stretched out of your limited point of view is a good thing! Encourage your global team to promote diverse thinking. – Trivinia Barber, PriorityVA

8. Leverage Personality Assessments

Understand your team better by having the company leverage personality profiles. This can include tests like DiSC or Myers-Briggs. DiSC results can show how teams can work together and how management can best communicate with someone based on their personality and desires. – Libby Rothschild, Dietitian Boss

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