And when I say "business owner", I mean "OWNER". Someone who owns 100% of the enterprise. The man. Or woman, as applicable. I got a call today from a person I interviewed two years ago, and she asked me my advice for dealing with some crazy behavior from the sole owner of a company she's employed by.
The good ones still deal with people issues according to GAPP (not the accounting version, but "Generally Accepted People Practices"). You expect people to deal with other people a certain way. With respect, dignity and a hat tip to how that person might feel after you deliver tough news to them. The business owners who don't feel they transcend the world around them still treat people like the world expects them to. Whatever the influence (good parents? A cosmic sense of how fortunate they are? A sense of responsibility?), the good owners get it. And it shows.
The crazy business owners? They do unto others any way they feel like because they can, and it shows in how they deal with the people issues in their organizations. Erratic behavior. Public firings. Acting like the king/queen and doing what they want, regardless of the opinions around them (by the way, the opinions are generally offered up less and less as they show they'll do what they want anyway.)
Of course, they're likely the owner because they've been successful for years before they've reached this point. But, in many cases, positive talent practices were part of the success on their way up. Then, having reached the pinnacle, something changed, and they stopped caring and generally giving a S#$* what other people think.
When you see it, run. You're just wasting time you don't have if you don't.