I’d love to tell you that a standard set of questions exists that must be asked in every single internal investigation, but that simply isn’t true.Every investigation has individual needs and so must be conducted as such.

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The New York Times' Adam Bryant recently interviewed Brad Jefferson, CEO of Animoto, a video slide show service, about leadership, management, and hiring.

In that interview, Jefferson shared the three questions he always asks job candidates, along with his reasoning for asking each one: "I always ask job candidates [this] because I want to make sure they've internalized what we're trying to do," Jefferson explains. I really try to get in their head about what's going to keep them going." What's more, Jefferson told Business Insider that it's important to understand what motivates a person at their core because "there will always be ups and downs in any business, and you want to make sure the person will be equally motivated during difficult times, if not more so.""My dad used to say, 'Work is more fun than fun,' and, while I didn't understand the comment as a kid, I now do," he says.

"But I'm really curious about their self-awareness, in terms of both strengths and weaknesses." In asking this question, Jefferson is really trying to understand their passions, and what makes them tick, he explains.

How would you react to meeting your daughter's new boyfriend or current boyfriend?

These questions seem to rear their ugly heads most frequently under times of stress and urgency precisely when more calm and creative thinking would be most beneficial.

The most dangerous are those where the leader already “knows” the answer and is looking to see if the person will “get it right.” Closed ended questions can have a similar impact, if the leader only wants to hear “yes” or “no.” Such “tests” may have their occasional place in ops reviews and interviews, but the side effects can be deadly as a general leadership practice.

To protect the integrity of the investigation, ask open-ended instead of leading questions.

And always consider the dignity of all involved – this can never be overstated for its importance to maintaining healthy employee relations.

Moving forward as a leader, I began using questions that opened people up and showed that I valued their thoughts and input.

Needless to say that approach was far more effective as my team really became invested in everything we were doing and owned the results.

In particular – leading questions like: “Don’t you agree that…” or “Isn’t it obvious that…” followed by an opinion or an assumed obvious response mostly make me want to exit a conversation.