After AI, Railways turns to EI to improve customer experience

By Arun Kumar Das
New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS): After adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) to prevent signal-failure, Indian Railways has now opted for Emotional Intelligence (EI) to help senior officials improve service delivery systems in a faster and more decisive way.

The Railways suffers at times due to indecisiveness at the higher levels due to various reasons, including stress and the lack of empathy among concerned officials.

"There have been circumstances where officers were not been able to sustain pressure in demanding situations, which impacted decisions," said a senior Railway Ministry official told IANS.

To create emotionally intelligent leadership strategies for a turnaround of the Railways, a full-fledged exercise is underway in the public behemoth to make all top level officials undergo EI training conducted by a globally certified master trainer.

Developed by Canada's Multi-Health Systems and based on rigorous research and validation, the EI course modules aim to enable officers find solutions to problems in situations where emotions are involved -- especially in customer-facing situations.

"Studies have shown that leaders with higher emotional intelligence are more effective in their work. Coping with stressful or difficult situations and believing that one can manage or influence situations in a positive manner is the main aim of the EI module," said a Divisional Railway Manager, who participated in one workshop.

While all General Managers and Divisional Railway Managers had to undergo the course at the National Academy of Indian Railways in Vadodara in the first batch, the training will be extended to other senior officers in a phased manner.

"One comes to know about blind spots in the quick-decision-making process and also the strength one has in certain areas," said the senior ministry official, adding it would also suggest ways to improve EI abilities.

The modules comprise components such as self-perception, self-expression, problem-solving and stress management. It allows participants to deepen their understanding in areas like empathy, flexibility, assertiveness, stress-tolerance and impulse-control, and give them an opportunity for further development.

General Managers have also been empowered to organise EI training for junior officers working in the divisions, for a qualitative impact on productivity and well-being of the large workforce that the Railways has.

The Railways also plans to train its own trainers to conduct similar courses for the young officers joining the national transporter and at various levels of career development.

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